Wales politics

Brexit could lead to ID cards, says Carwyn Jones

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Media captionCarwyn Jones said he knew Brexit Secretary David Davis had opposed ID cards

A system of compulsory ID cards may be brought in post-Brexit, the first minister has said.

Carwyn Jones told a committee of AMs he thinks ID cards could be used to ascertain whether people are eligible to work in the UK.

Currently, foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area must have ID cards.

A Home Office spokesperson said a number of options were being considered.

Speaking to the assembly's external affairs committee, Carwyn Jones said: "In the future people will be required, I suspect, to prove they are able to work in the UK."

"It tends to suggest we will move to a system of compulsory or quasi-compulsory ID cards in order for people to be able to prove that they are UK residents," he said.

"At the moment the practice is that people are required to produce the original copy, or the original letter rather, they received from the UK government with a national insurance number on the letter but of course there's no photo ID.

"So we may end up - this is a question I put half in jest to David Davis, the well-known opponent of compulsory ID cards - this may well be where we end up, that in order to work in the UK you will have to produce a photographic identification.

"Which effectively mean a compulsory ID card."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Identity cards have already been introduced for non-EEA workers

The last Labour UK government announce plans to bring in compulsory ID cards in 2002.

In 2003 the then home secretary David Blunkett said they would help counter-terrorism, stop illegal working, cut benefit fraud and prevent identity theft.

But six years later another Labour home secretary, Alan Johnson, decided not to make them compulsory for UK citizens

A voluntary system was scrapped in 2010 by the former Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, which described them as part of an "erosion of civil liberties".

A Home Office spokesperson said: "There are a number of options as to how EU migration might work once we have left, including regarding documentation.

"We are considering those various options and as the home secretary has previously said, it would be wrong to set out further positions at this stage."

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