MPs rail against ‘illiberal’ proposal to require voters to show ID at general elections

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A voter placing a ballot paper in a ballot box (PA Wire)
A voter placing a ballot paper in a ballot box (PA Wire)

MPs have railed against a proposal for voters to show photo ID in general elections, saying it will “rig the system”.

The proposal is expected to be included in Tuesday’s Queen’s speech which sets out the Government’s post-pandemic priorities.

The aim is to tackle voter fraud, but MPs and civil liberties groups have hit back saying it will disenfranchise voters – particularly the young and those who do not have photo ID.

Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis said it was an “illiberal solution for a non-existent problem”.

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “In the 2019 election, there was just one conviction for voter fraud. 3.5 million British citizens do not have a photo ID.

"This is a cynical and ugly attempt to rig the system to disempower the poorest and most marginalised groups."

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Sky news: “The more barriers that you put up to people being able to vote the more difficult it becomes for those groups to be able to exercise their democratic right.”

Jess Garland from the Electoral Reform Society warned about the cost of the project and added: "Voting is safe and secure in the UK, meaning this policy is just an unnecessary barrier to democratic participation.”

Boris Johnson last night dismissed criticism as “complete nonsense”, saying it was “not unreasonable” to ask people to show ID to help cut voter fraud.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: "Showing ID to vote is a reasonable approach to combat the inexcusable potential for voter fraud in our current system and to strengthen the integrity of our elections.

"Showing ID is something people do when they pick up a parcel at the post office or a library book.

"The 2019 voter ID pilots showed that in elections where photo ID was required, 99.6 per cent of electors were able to cast their votes without a problem."

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