This week's futile letter of protest:
Anne Campbell MP,
House of Commons,
Two weeks ago I wrote to Beverley Hughes, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, to establish why the Government had acknowledged receipt of only 2,000 of more than 5,000 responses to the Home Office's consultation on identity cards. I enclose a copy of my original letter.
She has not responded to my inquiry, and the Home Office appears to be pressing ahead with an identity cards scheme without resolving this serious anomaly in the consultation procedure.
Since I wrote to Beverley Hughes, Need to Know has reported that the the 5,000 consultation responses from members of the civil rights campaign Stand have been treated as a single response, giving their arguments one five thousandth the weight of others'.
Why has the Home Office manipulated the results of the consultation in this way? Why has Beverley Hughes not answered the same question put to her, and apparently the questions of many others concerned about this issue? Will the Government press ahead with an identity card scheme despite the overwhelmingly negative response to the consultation?
My original letter to Beverley Hughes:
Beverley Hughes MP,
House of Commons,
10th May 2003
Dear Beverley Hughes,
I read with some concern of your statement (Hansard, 28th April 2003) that 2,000 responses had been received to the Home Office's consultation scheme on identity cards. As Need to Know points out, at least 5,000 citizens are known to have commented via the `Fax Your MP' web site. I cannot understand how only 2,000 responses have been received when we know that at least 5,000 were sent. Since the Home Office cannot possibly have mislaid 60% of the responses submitted, there must be an alternative explanation. I would be much obliged if you could tell me what it is.
My own response to the consultation exercise was sent by email on the 13th January. Looking back through my email, I see that I did not hear any confirmation that it had been received by the Home Office. I enclose a copy; I would be grateful if you could confirm for me that it was received and assessed.
Chances of getting a response? Close to nil, I'd say. (I'm still waiting for one from Blunkett, though in the intervening period the courts smacked him down on that one. This, naturally, didn't stop him whining that -- to paraphrase -- he's the Home Secretary and he wants to be able to break any laws he wants.)