Alan Johnson signalled a major retreat by the Government on identity cards when he ruled out ever making them compulsory for UK citizens.
The Home Secretary also abandoned plans for a pilot project at two airports which would have required some staff and pilots to carry the cards.
The schemes for new workers wishing to go airside at Manchester airport and London city airport will now only be voluntary.
But the Government is to press ahead with creating a national identity register which, from 2011/12, will include the details of everyone who applies for a passport.
Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said: “This decision is symbolic of a Government in chaos. They have spent millions on the scheme so far – the Home Secretary thinks it has been a waste and wants to scrap it, but the Prime Minister won’t let him. So we end up with an absurd fudge instead. This is no way to run the country.”
Read more in The Times Online.