MP for Luton South calls for the Government’s ‘discriminatory’ Voter ID policy be to ‘urgently scrapped’
In the recent Queen’s Speech, the Government formally announced their plans to introduce mandatory Voter ID at the next election.
This policy requires voters to present photo ID to vote at polling stations in future elections.
The Labour Party have called on the Conservatives to urgently rethink the policy, raising concerns that the policy will reverse decades of democratic progress and threaten to bar millions of people from exercising their democratic right to vote.
Since this policy was first announced in December 2016, the Government has received multiple warnings from charities, civil society figures and campaign groups that mandatory voter ID, if rolled out nationally, could pull up the drawbridge for millions of voters.
3.5 million people, or 7.5% of the electorate, do not have access to any form of photo ID, so under the Government’s proposed plans would not be able to vote.
The Conservative Party’s plan will disproportionately exclude already marginalised communities in Luton, such as Black, Asian, and ethnic minority voters, who are far less likely to possess photo ID and it may also exclude older and disabled voters who face barriers to participating democratically.
While electoral fraud is a serious crime, it is very rare in the UK. In 2019, across the various elections where over 59 million votes were cast, there was only one conviction for voter fraud.
Rachel Hopkins, MP for Luton South, responding to the Government’s announcement of introducing Voter ID at elections, said:
“The Government’s discriminatory Voter ID plans would lock millions out of our democratic system
It is truly shocking that the Tories are proposing to spend millions on a solution to a non-existent problem. Voting is safe and secure in Britain. Ministers should be promoting confidence in our elections, not spreading baseless stories that threaten participation in our democracy.
“Millions of people lack photo ID in this country, in particular, elderly, low income and Black, Asian and ethnic minority voters. The Conservatives’ plan will reverse decades of democratic progress and urgently needs to be scrapped.”
Notes to Editors
- Leading Conservative MP David Davis has challenged the government’s plans to introduce mandatory voter ID for UK elections https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-voter-id-queen-speech-b1843891.html
- Dozens of civil society groups have spoken out against the plans – from Age UK to Stonewall, Liberty, Operation Black Vote, Silver Voices and Centrepoint https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/unprecedented-coalition-of-charities-and-civil-society-demand-rethink-on-dangerous-voter-id-trials/