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Blunkett loses ID card war.

Byline: BOB ROBERTS

COMPULSORY identity cards are off the agenda following a bloody bust-up in the Cabinet yesterday.

The decision left Home Secretary David Blunkett humiliated.

He had wanted Parliament to pave the way for the pounds 40 cards this year.

But he faced a powerful trio of foreign secretary Jack Straw, Chancellor Gordon Brown and trade secretary Patricia Hewitt, who say they would be an expensive gimmick.

Mr Blunkett and Tony Blair say they will fight terrorism, benefit fraud and illegal immigration.

But after a row said to be a "bloodbath" by an insider, there will now only be a small-scale "voluntary" scheme.

Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said: "After going round and round in circles for months, the Government has achieved absolutely nothing."

Mr Blunkett tried to put a brave face on the rebuff, saying: "I have given the green light to begin the process. We could not introduce a big-bang scheme."

Mr Blair's official spokesman would not say when legislation would now be introduced.

CAPTION(S):

REBUFF: Blunkett
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2003
Words:171
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