Tories Accused Of 'Pricing People Out Of Elections' With Voter ID Plan
The Tories have been accused of trying to price people out of voting by forcing them to present photo ID at the ballot box.
Ministers are facing a backlash over fears the move could “disenfranchise” millions of voters ahead of the local elections in May.
Under the plans, anyone who wishes to vote in UK elections will have to show a valid form of photo ID.
The government claims the move is necessary to prevent fraud and point out the policy is already in place in Northern Ireland.
But critics say there is little evidence of voter impersonation in the UK.
In the Commons today, Labour MP Cat Smith warned that the cost of living crisis could prevent people from paying for forms of ID that will be accepted at the ballot box, including a passport or a driver’s license.
The former shadow democracy minister said: “There are two million people who cannot hold a valid ID and will not hold that valid ID in May.
“Can I remind the minister that access to photo ID is a luxury, and in a cost of living crisis where it costs £82 for a passport and around £40 for driving licence, the reality is for many of our constituents, they cannot afford that luxury and they’ve been priced out at the ballot box.
“Can I urge the minister to look again at the list?”
Levelling up minister Lee Rowley said the government was urging people to apply for free voter ID, and said 21,000 have already done so.
However, the Guardian reported that only 505 people over 75, and 1,237 under-25s, have applied so far.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for local government Helen Morgan said: “The Conservative government has taken away people’s unobstructed right to vote, and now are refusing to cancel these plans before it’s too late.
“Today, the minister continues to evade and deny that there is even a problem - just weeks away from elections. It’s shameful.
“Voter ID regulations are nothing short of voter suppression. Liberal Democrats will stop at nothing to stop these unsavoury, Trumpian tactics that have no place in British democracy.”