Sir Nicholas and Frank Field are Co-Chairmen of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration.
Monday 11th January, 2016
Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex) (Con): Would my right hon. Friend reconsider the question of ID cards, not only in respect of immigration and the introduction of many digital services for all our individuals and citizens, but particularly in regard to national security and the protection of all our citizens from terrorism? Does he agree that this is now a matter of national security?
The Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire MP: My right hon. Friend will be aware that one of the first steps that the coalition Government took was to respond to the Labour Government’s proposals on that issue, which we continue to judge was the right thing to do. We are taking various measures to enhance the security of this country, but our judgment remains that ID cards are not the right way forward.
Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): Does the Minister accept that other countries with ID cards find it much easier to identify, detain and deport illegal immigrants? Given the support now on both sides of the House, may I suggest that the Government re-open the agenda for the introduction of ID cards, which we understood they dropped under pressure from the coalition?
The Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire MP: Many of the issues that we face in relation to deportation involve foreign nationals—obviously, by the nature of the work. We have introduced biometric residence permits, and in her speech last October to the Conservative party conference the Home Secretary referred to the further measures that we are taking so that we can remove those people who do not have authority to be in this country. We are using biometric residence permits and other means to achieve that.