HC Deb 06 June 1940 vol 361 cc973-4
8. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Health whether the Government will consider placing on the back of the identity card the finger-prints of the owner of the identity card, with a view to more easily establishing the identity and bona fides of the possessor?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

I am advised that, apart from its practical difficulties, this suggestion would not contribute to the easy identification of the possessor of a card, owing to the difficulty of anyone but an expert establishing finger prints.

Mr. De la Bère

Surely it is not too much to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's Department cannot give some further thought to the improvement of the identity card, either by inserting the age or by some other method of identification?

Mr. MacDonald

We are considering methods of placing photographs on special cards with a view to making the identification of their possessors clearer than it is at present.

15. Mr. Vernon Bartlett

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider the immediate issue of identity cards, each bearing the holder's photograph, and issued under conditions similar to those controlling the issue of passports?

Mr. MacDonald

As stated in the answer of 28th May to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield (Mr. Bull), such identity cards have been available for a considerable period for special purposes, and their use is being extended wherever special needs arise. It does not seem possible to impose this system upon the whole population; but the whole subject is now being examined with a view to providing on a much larger scale additional means of authenticating the holder of an ordinary identity card.

Mr. Bartlett

Could the Minister give any idea as to when this additional system will be made known? With the development of Quislings all over the place, should we not develop a system of identification similar to those in other countries?

Mr. MacDonald

I can only say that any announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Miss Rathbone

Why is it not possible to provide for all people to have their photographs on their identity cards? It is quite cheap.