10:11AM, Friday 18 October 2019
Slough MP Tan Dhesi has labelled Government plans requiring people to show photo ID before they vote as an attempt to ‘stifle democracy’.
Under proposals unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on Monday, Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party declared its intention to ‘take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the UK’.
If the move goes ahead, voters would be required to show approved ID at a polling station before they can get a ballot paper.
Objectors to the scheme claim this will exclude up to 11 million voters who, according to the Electoral Commission, do not have a driving licence or passport.
The Labour MP said: “Proposals to require voters to present ID at polling stations are an attempt by this Tory Government to stifle democracy.
“Eleven million people in this country currently don’t have access to a passport or driving licence, so this is a voter suppression meant to disenfranchise such individuals and deter people from exercising their democratic right.”
Those who don’t have a valid photo ID will be able to apply for a free electoral identity card if they are on the electoral register.
In 2017, Slough Borough Council had been due to take part in a government-funded voter ID trial but Labour councillors made a u-turn and decided to block the scheme.
A council spokeswoman told the Express that the council has received ‘no reports of voter fraud’ in recent years and there have been just two convictions over the issue in the past 12 years.
Kanwal Toor Gill, the Conservative’s parliamentary candidate for Slough, said: “This is something that I feel is well overdue and certainly will help us to ensure that our right to vote is properly protected from fraud.”
Lee Pettman, Slough Conservatives chairman, added: “Slough Conservatives have always been clear, we need to keep our politics in Slough free, fair and transparent and these proposals help us to do that.”
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