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Newly-elected West Yorkshire Tory MPs Kris Hopkins and Alec Shelbrooke assert that ID cards would not prevent terrorism or illegal immigration in their Commons debuts

Among the maiden speeches made during the Second Reading debate on the bill to abolish ID cards were two from newly-elected Tory MPs from West Yorkshire.

Hopkins Kris Former Bradford Council leader Kris Hopkins gained Keighley at the election and enthusiastically back the bill:

"I want to say a few words about identity documents. As has been pointed out, I do not believe that terrorists will volunteer to get an ID card. I do not believe that after the public’s initial enthusiasm for ID cards they wanted to be taxed again for more paperwork.

"Many supporters of identity cards suggested that they would address illegal immigration. During the election campaign in Keighley and Ilkley, immigration was a big issue. Sadly, that was because many people had lost confidence in the Government’s addressing illegal immigration to this country. At that point, sadly, some people considered supporting right-wing extreme parties, as people in Keighley have done in the past. What was actually required to address the issue was not an ID card, but a strong, robust and sensible position on immigration—capping numbers and making sure that we secured our borders. The good news is that we did offer that, and the public listened and believed us. The two right-wing fascist groups that stood in Keighley were severely trashed."

Shelbrooke Alec Alec Shelbrooke, the new MP for  Elmet and Rothwell, echoed the position of his colleague:

"It is interesting that I am classed as a Leeds MP, and that is why I felt it appropriate to stand up in this debate to make my maiden speech. We are talking about the abolition of the Identity Cards Act 2006. If identity cards had been in place, they would not have stopped the 7/7 bombings in 2005 in any shape or form. Of course, the people involved came from Leeds, which took a very hard hit, not least in the international press, which described the north of England as some derelict wasteland and asked whether it was any surprise that terrorists came from it. It was described as some sort of third-world country. However, I can assure Members that Leeds is one of the most vibrant cities in this country, and one for which I was very proud to be a councillor for six years while we were governing the city."

He also took the opportunity to reveal a long term political ambition for his constituency:

"I have a long-term aim, and I made it quite clear to my constituents in the election that although it is a promise and something I want to move forward, they will not see any results for a very long time. Indeed, by the time they see results, I may well not even be the Member of Parliament for the area. I am talking about rail links. More than 30,000 people in my constituency, in a major metropolitan city, have absolutely no rail links whatever, after the branch lines were removed in the Beeching review. The town of Wetherby serves a huge number of people in the commuter belt to Leeds who must all travel down the A58 and, latterly, the A1 link road.

"However, rail links are not just about allowing those people to travel to Leeds more efficiently and effectively; they will also ease-up the congestion that blights everyone in constituencies on the east side of the city. Therefore, I am laying down that marker. I will be working with Network Rail and taking a keen interest in the high speed rail policy as it moves through the House. Let us be honest, in the economic circumstances, the chances of us getting a branch line rail link built to Wetherby and surrounding villages, just to serve them, are pretty slim. However, high speed rail is a major national project, and there would appear to be opportunities to branch off that line to serve people in my constituency much more effectively and efficiently."

Jonathan Isaby


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