Tony Blair won't let go of ID cards

26 Jun 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Ex-prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly still of the belief that ID cards are the only way of dealing with illegal immigration.

But he told the BBC's Andrew Marr that the "central problem is not about immigration per se … it's where it [is] uncontrolled, it's illegal and there's organised crime and drugs". ID cards were "out of fashion" but were the only way of dealing with the issue in his opinion.

In contrast on Friday (June 22nd) current Labour leader Ed Miliband said that the party had made a mistake in allowing unlimited access to workers coming to the UK with the first wave of eastern European countries joined the EU.

He said Labour had told people concerned about the biggest peacetime migration to the UK to "like it or lump it" and that the public had been "ahead of us" on the issue.

No comment has been made over the distinction between EU migration, which is the largest component of immigration and for which UK work permits are not required and other nationalities where they must be applied for.

The issue of identity cards was a long-running cause of controversy for the last Labour government from 2002 when the plans for a national ID card were set out.

In 2010 both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pledged to scrap the scheme if elected, and after they formed their coalition government it was axed within 100 days.