UK: New passport "processing centres"

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The government is to use the Royal Prerogative (powers exercised by government on behalf of the Queen) to set up 70 new passport "processing centres" throughout the country to introduce compulsory finger-printing for new passports from "late in 2006". It had been thought that as the Identity Card Bill - which contained powers to take finger-prints for passports - fell in parliament with the announcement of the General Election that any move would have to wait for the re-introduction of the Bill, Guardian (link). In a related move the UK government is lodging a case in the European Court of Justice because it was excluded from taking part in the decision to introduce biometric passports throughout the EU - the other 23 governments argue that the UK (and Ireland) is not taking part in the immigration provisions of the Schengen agreement and therefore it cannot expect to be involved: UK court case document (pdf)

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