The first acts of those now long-gone days of Dave-Nick government in the warm summer of 2010 were to be bring in a fixed term parliament act and to abolish the Identity Cards that Labour had finally started to produce 13 years after they were a Labour manifesto promise in 1997

Henceforth no PM could fiddle with the electoral calendar for opportunistic party advantage. Britain like all other democracies would have a fixed term government of five years. And Britain unlike most other democracies would bin and burn the few thousand ID cards that were issued from March 2010. A personal declaration is needed here. I obtained one – it is a credit card size with picture, personal data and most importantly fits in a wallet. Ireland has both a passport and a travel ID document which is the same as the ID cards issued in Switzerland, Norway and most EU countries.

For two months I could jump on Easyjet or Eurostar without worrying about forgetting my passport with its valuable US visa in it, or having it stolen or lost. During the years of Labour government I argued endlessly with Labour ministers to pull their fingers out and start issuing ID cards on a voluntary basis. I reckoned that if by the election in May 2010 several million had been issued people would have seen their utility and the fears raised by the libertarian left and adopted as policy by the Tories and Lib Dems that ID cards were a tool of a Gestapo state would be shown to be groundless.

I had lived and worked in too many European countries to believe the drivel from mono-lingual Lib Dems or faux libertarian Tories that an ID card was a tool of state oppression. They are what they say they are. For example, the turn out for Sunday’selection in France was 78.5% – a level not seen in Britain for 40 years. Our last four elections have been below 70%. One reason is that in France a voter simply presents an ID card as proof of citizenship. In contrast our complicated, messy system of voter registration denies many the right to vote – not the least 1.9 million young voters who could not vote in the Brexit referendum.

As Clare Foges argued in The Times this week, ID cards are an essential first tool if ever we want to manage immigration. Unscrupulous employers can hire any number of illegal immigrants including all the Poles and East European working in Britain before 2004 because there is no obligation to show an ID card. They can help pubs and supermarkets on the sale of alcohol to youngsters. They support civil liberty by proving citizenship and the right to live and work here and until such time as we abolish the right to travel, trade, live, love, retire and do business in 30 EEA member states they would help all of us who like to visit Europe.

If such a proud flagship law as the Fixed Term Parliament act can be tossed aside so casually can we – on an all-party  basis – agree that after the election Britain will be stronger, more secure and see an increase in voter turn-out if we bring back ID cards. Mine is valid until 2020 so I won’t need a new one!

Denis MacShane is a former Minister of Europe and works as a Senior Adviser at Avisa Partners, Brussels.