The Home Office faced fresh controversy last night after ministers were accused of accidentally repealing the law which makes it an offence to have a forged passport. In an extraordinary development, it was claimed that Labour's Identity Cards Act had repealed the existing laws before the new laws to replace them come into force.
One court case involving two men who were caught with forged passports has already had to be adjourned.
The mistake was first spotted by Criminal Law Week, the respected legal journal, which highlighted what it described as a "spectacular error" by the Government.
It described how the new ID Cards Act repealed a key section of the existing law which covers counterfeit passports - the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
Criminal Law Week said the mistake meant the current laws had "departed the statute book rather sooner than can have been intended".
Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: "This latest Home Office disaster has accidentally made it legal to own a false passport."
However, the Home Office said last night that it was convinced that the existing law on forged passports remained in force.
Who do you believe? the lawyers or the government? The Home Office are convinced? Here are some other things the government have been convinced of:
- There were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq
- That 90 days detention was right
- That ID cards will combat terrorism (and not just legalise forged passports).