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Tory election power grab back in Parliament

September 5, 2021 11:36 AM
By Bryan Lewis

The Joint Committee on Human Rights, an influential cross-party group of MPs, has called on the government to think again over plans for photo voter ID. A Bill comes before Parliament on 7th September.

The JCHR said the government must prove that its plans do not act as a deterrent on voting and said ministers showed a lack of understanding as to how their plans would negatively impact marginalised groups.

Organisations such as charities and the Electoral Reform Society as well as many academics, have come to the same conclusion. The government has failed to make a credible case that these measures are necessary just as they have failed to take any serious steps to reduce the negative impacts of these dangerous proposals.

Government ministers say photo ID will improve the integrity of elections and prevent votes from being stolen. But cases of vote stealing are very rare and large numbers of people who are less well-off and less inclined to back the Tories do not have photo ID and will be put off or prevented from voting.

Other measures in the bill would put the now independent Electoral Commission subserviant to the Speaker's committee, a parliamentary body on which the Tories have a majority who could ban whole sections of civil society, including unions and charities, from engaging in elections either by campaigning or donating.

It's time for the government to stop and re-think this bill. MPs from all parties must challenge it head-on and make sure any reforms of our voting laws are there to strengthen our democracy not weaken it.