HC Deb 28 June 1951 vol 489 cc1560-1
7. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Health whether he will designate the persons who are entitled to demand the production of identity cards and the relevant statutory authority in each case.

Mr. Marquand

By Section 6 (4) of the National Registration Act, 1939, and regulations made thereunder, the following persons are authorised to demand production of an identity card:

a police officer in uniform;

a member of the Armed Forces in uniform on duty if he has reason to suspect that the person concerned is a deserter or absentee from the Forces or an escaped prisoner of war.

a National Registration Officer,

Food Executive Officers are National Registration Officers. In addition, under Defence Regulation 60 CC, a Post Office official may require production of the card as a condition of doing business on a matter in which evidence of identity is material, e.g., withdrawal from a savings bank account.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Minister aware that the most unhealthy and confusing extension—by the persons he has designated, and others—of the original purpose of identity cards, has aroused public antagonism and serious doubts in the most responsible quarters? Has not the time arrived when there should be a complete review, if not abolition, of this system?

Mr. Marquand

I am responsible solely for the work of the Registrar-General, who keeps the register. I am not in any way responsible for the way in which any of these people who are entitled to demand an identity card may use their powers.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the Minister in dealing with this matter, take care to see that the powers of the police are not unduly limited or impaired in the discharge of the arduous duties which they carry out with such care, skill and judgment?

Mr. Marquand

Questions relating to the police should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Mr. Jennings

Will the Minister please consult his colleagues and draw their attention to the grave apprehensions about this matter that have been expressed in the country?

Hon. Members


Forward to