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LABOUR will today warn that the Tories are threatening British democracy with multi-million-pound “Trumpian vote-rigging plans” which will lock millions out of democracy.
Ahead of the publication of the government’s Elections Bill today, Labour is urging ministers to drop their “undemocratic” and “discriminatory” plans to make photo ID mandatory for people to vote in the next election.
The plans are being put in place to supposedly prevent voter fraud, but the issue is vanishingly rare.
In 2019, just one conviction for impersonation was made out of over 59 million votes.
But more than two million voters could lack the necessary ID needed to take part in their democratic right to vote, according to the government’s own analysis.
And it risks disproportionately affecting older, disabled and homeless voters who are less likely to have relevant documents.
Labour is accusing the Conservatives of “blatant voter suppression” and wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on “dirty election tactics.”
Shadow democracy minister Cat Smith said: “Voter ID is a total waste of taxpayers’ money, set to cost millions of pounds at every election and yet the government apparently can’t afford to give our nurses a pay rise.
“Voting is safe and secure in Britain. Ministers should be promoting confidence in our elections instead of spreading baseless scare stories which threaten our democracy – this Trumpian tactic has no place in our democracy.”
Ms Smith said that Tory ministers were already seen ignoring various rules, and now they are “trying to change the rules and rig our democracy in their favour.
“First it was using the cover of the pandemic to hand out taxpayers’ money to their mates, now it’s using the cover of the pandemic to threaten British democracy,” she said.
“These plans must be stopped.”
The Bill comes today despite the government facing a Supreme Court challenge to its Voter ID pilots which could rule that these plans are illegal.
Labour said that the earliest the Supreme Court will hear the case is January 2022, meaning the government could force a potentially illegal policy through Parliament.
The Elections Bill will also include changes to overseas voting laws which, Labour warned, will allow rich Conservative donors unlimited access to Britain’s democracy, opening the floodgates and letting foreign money into British politics.
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