HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc240-1
33. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet decided upon the advisability of issuing identity cards for the whole population, bearing the photographs of their owners?

Mr. E. Brown

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 20th March to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing (Sir F. Sanderson).

Mr. Bartlett

Is the Minister aware that in the event of invasion these identity cards would give no proof at all, but would be a positive danger? Would he not take into consideration—because it would not be expensive or difficult—having a properly attested photograph attached to the inside of each identity card?

Mr. Brown

If my hon. Friend had read the answer given by my predecessor, he would have seen in the long statement he made that it was not considered necessary. After all these and other suggestions had been borne in mind, the conclusion arrived at was that the adoption of this suggestion would be no greater safeguard than the present identity card.

Mr. Bartlett

But does the Minister know of any country where there are identity cards with no photographs?

Sir H. Williams

How many people working how many hours would it take to photograph 48,000,000 people?

Mr. Brown

I could not say.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

What is the use of these cards at the present time?

Mr. Brown

Proceedings have been instituted and penalties have been imposed in a number of cases of infringements.