Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): I congratulate the Financial Secretary on her role, which when I held it, I was told, often involved downplaying the significance of embarrassing U-turns in the policies of the Chancellor.
    May I return to the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr. Tyrie)? Why was it thought necessary two years ago to protect small savers by imposing a complex and costly system of regulation, when now it is thought that the only way to make savings products affordable for small savers is to exempt them from that system of regulation and to regulate the product separately?
    Ruth Kelly: We are consulting on and taking forward the proposals in Ron Sandler‘s report. He correctly
    9 Jul 2002 : Column 756
    Question after statement on a consultation exercise on entitlement cards and identity fraud
    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Is the Home Secretary aware that when the Labour Government in Australia consulted on a similar measure, it was, as I am sure this will be initially, extremely popular? However, as the argument progressed and the implications became increasingly apparent, opposition grew until some 90 per cent. of the population of Australia were opposed to the idea of an identity card, and it contributed to the fall of the Australian Government?an outcome that I wish to see here. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us how long it will be before this proposal joins those for e-mail snoopers and asylum vouchers in the graveyard for illiberal measures that the Government have introduced?
    Mr. Blunkett: I loved the right hon. Gentleman‘s concluding words. After all, we are coming up to the 10th anniversary of his “little list”. If anybody should give us lectures about liberality, it is certainly not the right hon. Gentleman.
    I met the leader of the Australian Opposition yesterday and talked to him about the card. I said that there was a great deal to learn from the Australian experience, and he said that it was quite likely that the present Government, whose outlook is very close to the right hon. Gentleman‘s heart, might well seek to reintroduce it.
    3rd July 2002 c234