UK's Boris Johnson, who introduced voter ID rule, forgets his while voting

United Kingdom's former Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Sao Paulo's Governor

LONDON (Reuters) - Former British prime minister Boris Johnson, who introduced a contentious requirement for voters to show photo ID while voting, was turned away from a polling station on Thursday for forgetting to bring his.

British media reported that Johnson, who quit in 2022 following a scandal-ridden premiership, was initially turned away at a polling station in Oxfordshire, southern England, while trying to vote in local elections taking place across England on Thursday.

A spokesman said Johnson had voted Conservative but did not deny that the ex-PM had initially failed to produce photo ID.

As prime minister, Johnson's government introduced the ID requirement in 2022 to crack down on possible voter fraud but it was heavily criticised for the potential to disenfranchise parts of the electorate.

Previously, voters only needed to give their name and address to be able to vote.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to ask first-time voters to produce some evidence of identity," Johnson had said of the new rules in 2021.

Last year, in the first vote where the new rules were implemented, around 14,000 people in England were denied a vote in local elections after being unable to provide ID.

The incident is the latest in what has been a colourful political career for Johnson.

As London mayor he was once left dangling in the air when he got stranded on a zip wire, and as prime minister he was once pictured appearing to retreat into a large refrigerator while being pursued by a camera crew for an interview.

A poll by YouGov showed 14% of Britons were still unaware, in the days prior to Thursday's elections, of the voter ID requirement.

(This story has been refiled to correct the day to Thursday, from Friday, in paragraphs 1, 2 and 10)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Alistair Bell)