Yvette Cooper Slaps Down Stephen Kinnock Over Labour ID Card Confusion

He suggested a new identity scheme was being looked at “very, very carefully indeed”.
Yvette Cooper and Stephen Kinnock
Yvette Cooper and Stephen Kinnock

Yvette Cooper slapped down her colleague today after he suggested Labour could introduce ID cards to help reduce illegal immigration.

The shadow home secretary gave a flat “no” when asked if ID cards were something the Labour Party was considering again.

A similar idea was introduced by ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair but was repealed by David Cameron’s coalition government following concerns about civil liberties.

However, this week shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock suggested a new identity scheme was being looked at “very, very carefully indeed”. He argued it would be “so helpful” in reassuring the public that “we have control of our borders”.

In an interview with Times Radio Kinnock said that ID cards should “certainly be on the table” as a solution to controlling the scale of people crossing the Channel.

Speaking to Matt Chorley he said: “Just about every member state of the European Union has a proper registration and ID card system...

“It can’t be beyond the wit of man to look at this and put a system in place that both addresses the issues around civil liberties, but also make sure that we know who is living in our country, and how many people are living in our country.

“And that will just be so helpful, I think in terms of giving people the reassurance that they’re looking for, that we have control of our borders, and that we don’t have the complete and utter shambles and incompetence and cruelty frankly, that defines the current government.”

But, asked if ID cards were something Labour was considering again, Cooper told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “No, I think the issue is that there’s no proper employment enforcement and that has just got weaker and weaker…”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman visits a Border Force facility on November 03, 2022 in Dover, England.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman visits a Border Force facility on November 03, 2022 in Dover, England.
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Pressed on whether she saw no case for ID cards, Cooper added: “If you have people either working illegally or being exploited as well there’s no proper employment enforcement.

“So we would have stronger employment enforcement and proper standards in place, as well as the stronger action to crack down on the criminal gangs.

“We’ve set out other measures as well that we think could actually help tackle the problem.”

Labour sources said ID cards were not something they were looking at and that Kinnock was instead trying to show that they were keen not to rule anything out.

During the summer, Blair launched a fresh drive for ID cards claiming it would tackle illegal migration.

A report by the former prime minister’s institute, published in July, said the weakest link in the government’s approach to migration was its failure to crack down on a black market fuelled by unscrupulous employers giving jobs to illegal migrants.

Tony Blair.
Tony Blair.
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

He proposed a “digital identity verification” system for all Brits which would be required to claim benefits or work in the UK.

To get an ID card, individuals would have to demonstrate they had a legal right to reside in the UK and verify their identity via their passport or equivalent document.

Meanwhile, prime minister Rishi Sunak hopes to strike a deal with France to tackle illegal migration. He met with French president Emmanuel Macron at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday.

And on Tuesday, pensions secretary Mel Stride said there has been a “fundamental shift” in the tone of relations between the two countries.

He suggested that talks on a deal to tackle the small boat crisis are in their “final stages”, adding: “The mood music seems to be good at the moment.”


What's Hot