LONDON (Reuters) - New Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg vowed in his New Year message on Monday to bring down plans for national identity cards.
Clegg, who took over as leader earlier this month, said ditching the cards was part of the party’s instinct to protect people from unwanted state intrusion into their lives.
“The child benefit and learner drivers’ data loss scandals mean there is a looming crisis of public confidence in the government’s capacity to look after their personal information,” he said.
“So let 2008 be the year we bring down the Identity Cards scheme.”
Despite the recent data loss furore, the government has said it would go ahead with plans for the multi-billion pound scheme which would see biometric cards introduced from 2009.
Both the LibDems and the Conservatives have said they will oppose the project.
In his message, Clegg also called on LibDem supporters to reach beyond the “stale” two-party system.
“We have before us an unparalleled opportunity,” he said, adding 2008 would be a momentous year for the party.
“Putting British families back in control of their everyday lives will be at the heart of everything we stand for.”
That meant allowing people control over their privacy, over what their children watched on TV, and giving them more time to spend with their families.
“Giving power and responsibility to families -- of every shape and size, of every background -- is the only way to make sure everyone has a fair chance in life.”
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison