Keir Starmer urged to 'bring Corbyn back' by McDonnell
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The Government is expected to introduce the bill in the spring to make photo ID mandatory for all UK-wide elections from 2023. Downing Street said the Electoral Integrity Bill was essential for avoiding the “inexcusable potential for voter fraud”.
The Bill would replicate a measure that has successfully operated in Northern Ireland since the 1980s.
However, Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, lashed out at the proposed bill and said it “tramples over civil liberties” and said it “discriminates”.
Sir Keir said: “It tramples over civil liberties and it discriminates.
“The Prime Minister must know that introducing compulsory voter ID will suppress turnout.
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“It will disproportionately impact ethnic minorities and it will weaken our democracy.
“Labour will have no part in that.”
But now the Opposition leader has been left humiliated after an event in London urged Labour supporters to “bring photo ID”.
Conservative councillor for Island Gardens in Tower Hamlets, Peter Golds, tweeted a picture of a flyer and wrote: “Do look at this entire screenshot.
“Those attending the meeting that selected this candidate were reminded to bring photo ID and a second item of ID with proof of address.”
Currently, a voter does not need to produce any form of photographic identification or even a polling card in order to cast their ballot.
A Downing Street spokesperson has defended the policy, stating: “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.
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“The 2019 voter ID pilots showed that in elections where photo ID was required, 99.6 percent of electors were able to cast their votes without a problem.”
The Cabinet Office has said the list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences.
It added that any voter without access to photo ID will be able to apply, free of charge, for an electoral ID from their local authority.
Government data has found 11 million electors do not have a passport or photographic driving licence in the UK.
Those without photo identification are disproportionately people from BAME and working-class communities.
Between 2015 and 2019, average figures show that 76 percent of white people in England have a driving license compared to 53 percent of black people and 61 percent of people of Asian ethnicity.
Campaigners have claimed the Bill is unnecessary due to the low levels of voter fraud in the country.
Critics also highlighted how the bill could unfairly impact ethnic minorities and working-class communities across the UK.
Jess Garland, a spokeswoman for the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Voting is safe and secure in the UK, meaning this policy is just an unnecessary barrier to democratic participation.”
Boris Johnson has dismissed criticism of the moves as “complete nonsense”, arguing that it was “not unreasonable” to ask people to show ID to combat voter fraud.
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