Today, on the basis of a motion put forward by the Scottish Green Party, Members of the Scottish Parliament voted, by a margin of 52 to 47, with 15 abstentions, against the govt’s planned identity cards:
The Scottish Parliament has voted against UK Government plans to introduce identity cards.
The measures were branded “regressive” and a threat to personal freedom during a debate called by the Scottish Greens at Holyrood.
Labour insisted that the system would actually strengthen civil liberties.
MSPs rejected ID cards by 52 votes to 47 after the Green motion received cross-party support, although the matter is reserved to Westminster.
It should be noted that whilst the Parliament cannot oppose the measures outright, they can prevent the cards being required to use public services in Scotland and thus can minimise its impact.
None of the Scottish parties other than Labour could support this measure, not even the Tories who say they’re in favour in principle.
The Lib Dems abstained, claiming that the motion did not go far enough in opposing ID cards outright, as opposed to the govt’s specific plans. Whilst this was true, it seemed to me that defeat of the motion would have been a blow to the campaign against the cards and that a stronger motion would have seen the Tories oppose, thus making it likely the motion would be defeated.
Nevertheless, this is a welcome development for those opposed to the ID cards and the database associated with them. Thanks should go to the Scottish Green Party who gave up one of its few slots in the Parliament for this debate and the accompanying motion.
Now for the House of Lords…