Adam Afriyie MP

Adam Afriyie MP (Conservative) MP for Windsor. First elected in 2005. Degree in agricultural economics from Imperial College. has spent 20 years in the IT industry and was founding director of Connect Support Services, an IT services company offering fixed-price support. Member, Science and Technology Committee. Believes government should not interfere in our lives beyond protecting and defending us.


Windsor Conservative Association: 87 St. Leonards Rd, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 3BZ

Identity cards

Against ID cards has written articles and given speeches against them.

House of Commons debate Identity Cards Bill 18 October 2005

It seems to me that it will be compulsory to carry the ID card. If an ID card is based on biometrics—retinal scans and fingerprints—one constantly carries those and therefore one will be carrying an ID card. Does the hon. Gentleman agree?

House of Commons debate Identity Cards Bill 28 June 2005

"Does the hon. Gentleman consider it dignified for the elderly and those with disabilities to queue to have their retinas scanned and their fingerprints taken to be processed by the Government?."

Electronic Voting

House of Commons debate Electoral Integrity 22 June 2005

"It strikes me that one of the most significant developments in British democracy was the secret ballot, which was introduced in 1872. In the light of the various points that have been made, does my hon. Friend agree that the continuing use of the ballot box — in which people can physically cast their vote securely, free from coercion, intimidation and observation — is important?"


House of Commons debate NHS IT Programme 6 June 2007

... In any major IT project—the one we are discussing is the largest in the world—account must be taken of the technologies that are developed and those that are under-developed. I spent about 20 years in the IT industry; other Members, including the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd), have also spent a long time in industry and have had dealings with the IT sector. Anyone who has worked in and around the IT industry comes to learn bitter and painful lessons about the implementation of IT systems. One thing that we learn fairly early on is that if we choose a brand new, bespoke system—one that has never been used before and is created specifically for one purpose—we are bound to come a cropper. We in the IT industry use the term "bleeding edge"—rather than leading edge—technology. That is where the purchaser and the person responsible for a project endure a lot of pain in the attempt to deliver something that ends up not being delivered.
It would also be far better if GPs could choose from various systems, and if the Government now chose to accept a review, which would highlight some of the deficiencies in their approach.

IP Issues

Adam Afriyie calls for open access to scientific data, he argues that publicly funded research should be accessible in order to help promote growth and innovation.

[1] Reference


2006-04-14 - Adam Afriyie Website - IT is poorly in the NHS
Author: Adam Afriyie MP
Summary: IT can play a large part in helping huge organisation such as the NHS to run smoothly by improving bookings, allowing easier access to patient records and prescriptions to be provided online. One really ought to have welcomed the Government’s 10 year programme to upgrade and modernise the IT systems used by the NHS. However, many worried Windsor residents have contacted me because they are still unable to see their GP quickly or get a timely referral to a specialist. So it is a huge disappointment to discover that the £6.2 billion IT system may not be up to the job. Several senior IT academics have criticised the programme for not being clearly thought through. It is also alarming that the new system has already experienced difficulties in pilot studies, with some patients being "lost in the system". The Government does not have a good record when it comes to delivering major IT projects. The Passport Office, Child Support Agency and Tax Credits System have all experienced major difficulties. For the sake of patients, I hope that the Government will review the NHS system to make sure that it meets the needs of 24 hour healthcare.
2006-03-23 - Kable - MPs pick at ID threads
Summary: Adam Afriyie MP also questioned the technology's reliability, asking Courtney to outline the known limitations of the scheme. She said the biggest risk is in not training people properly to use the technology, but that she was confident the right training would be provided. Afriyie pressed the Home Office team, unsuccessfully, on whether there were any projections on how the technology will change in the next seven years. He then commented: "It sounds like we are going to be pioneers, at the leading edge rather than using proven technologies."
2006-02-17 - Adam Afriyie Website - Cards - Who are You?
Author: Adam Afriyie MP
Summary: Who are you? We've all been asked to identify ourselves on many occasions, and usually, the question is justified. When we visit the bank we’re asked for a driving licence, passport or some other form of ID. We're happy for them to do so because we recognise the need for security and would be very upset if our money was given to someone else. There is, however, a strong argument that ID cards could make our lives less secure in several ways. First, not everyone will be able to carry an ID. Overseas visitors will have to be exempt, so there is an immediate loophole. Second, someone with an ID card will be 'assumed' to be legitimate. It is not beyond the wit of fraudsters to forge cards or copy and amend cards. Somebody with a fake card will be at liberty to commit many acts of fraud with reckless abandon. Finally, we must remember that an ID card holder is still able to commit a terrorist act. Indeed, ID cards were in operation in Spain, but they did not prevent the Madrid railway bombing. And perhaps the biggest trick played on the public is that the Labour Party originally said that ID cards would not be compulsory. They now have the power to insist that people obtaining or renewing passports (over three quarters of the population) 'must' also have their eyes scanned and fingerprints taken. On Monday, I was disappointed but not surprised that the Bill was forced through Parliament by a Government determined to curtail our civil liberties under the guise of protecting us from terrorism.
2006-01-20 - Adam Afriyie Website - ID Cards Unwelcome
Author: Adam Afriyie MP
Summary: It strikes me that if the Government’s ID card bill gets through in its current form, life in Britain will be very different than it is today. Imagine the scene. The elderly and disabled will be taken to Government processing centres to have their retinas scanned and their fingerprints taken. They – or the taxpayer – will be presented with a bill for perhaps £300 and, whenever their circumstances change, they will be forced to inform the Government or risk a fine. The eye-scanning technology is also less reliable with the elderly, people with visual disabilities and those with darker coloured eyes. Surely it cannot be right that these people are inconvenienced with longer delays when at airports, banks and receiving public services. This is not the kind of country many of us would wish to live in. So I was delighted this week when the Lords rejected the ID Cards Bill unless the costs were fully revealed and taken into account. We already have many forms of ID – passports, driving licences, national insurance numbers and bank cards to name a few. It seems to me that if we need to tackle problems with benefit fraud, we should tackle that problem today rather than wait for perhaps 10 years for an unproven technology to be brought into play without any guarantee that it will work. I very much hope that the ID Cards Bill fails to see the light of day and I will do what I can, with my colleagues, to consign it to the dustbin of history so that we can get on with solving the problems we have without another large-scale failure of a Government-led IT project.
2006-01-12 - eGov monitor - MPs call for wireless internet access in the Commons
Author: Ian Cuddy
Summary: One new MP, Adam Afriyie, complained to the committee that, although he uses wireless technology all around the country, he is unable to do so in the Commons and has to rely on the services provided by a nearby café. He told the inquiry: "I can work anywhere in the country - in coffee shops, in any building, most Conservative associations - if there is a coffee shop next door with a wireless LAN. The only place I was unable to work is here [House of Commons]... I used to spend afternoons sitting on the steps outside Portcullis House so that I could get a signal from what I think is Caffé Nero next door."
2005-07-01 - Adam Afriyie Website - ID Cards - The Plastic Punch
Author: Adam Afriyie MP
Summary: "We have been robustly debating Identity Cards in Parliament this week. Some people are instinctively in favour and you may be one of them. Some say ‘if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t object to having an ID card’. When the Government tell us that ID cards will stop terrorism, combat crime, stop benefit fraud and help control immigration, it is understandable that people may support them. But, when you understand what ID cards will mean in practice and they fail to solve the problems, it’s no surprise to discover that many Labour MPs and LibDems are also against them. First, the Spanish carry ID cards but this did not stop the Madrid bombing. It is also striking to that American’s rejected them, despite the 9/11 atrocity. They understood that the terrorists were carrying legitimate ID, and would not have been prevented by ID cards. Second, the pilot schemes have shown that the technology is only 80% accurate. The elderly and those with disabilities were the least likely to be identified correctly. That means that on 1 in 5 occasions you will be identified incorrectly and have to justify yourself to officials! Third, you will be asked to report to a Government processing centre to have your retinas scanned and fingerprints taken. This strikes me as draconian and lacks respect for the elderly in particular. And finally, the plastic punch, it has now been revealed that the card may cost you up to £200. On this basis it’s no wonder that almost everyone is opposed. There are better common sense ways to solve today’s problems. Let’s not force good people to reveal their personal details to the Government."