I strongly oppose the Government’s plans to require voters to show an approved form of photo ID to vote in parliamentary elections in Great Britain and local elections in England, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
While electoral fraud is a serious crime, occurrences are thankfully very rare in the UK.
Indeed, out of 44.4 million votes cast in 2017, there were only 28 allegations of voter fraud and only one conviction.
Evidence from around the world shows that forcing voters to bring photo ID to the polling station does little to stop determined fraudsters.
It just makes it harder for people to vote.
This was demonstrated at the English local elections in 2018 and 2019 when several local authorities piloted voter ID schemes.
The Electoral Commission found that, in total, more than 1,000 voters were denied their right to vote because they did not have the correct form of ID.
There are 11 million citizens in the UK – 24 per cent of the electorate – who lack a passport or driving licence.
And 3.5 million – 7.5 per cent of the electorate – do not have access to any form of photo ID.
The independent Equality and Human Rights Commission has also warned that voter ID has a dispropor-tionate impact on ethnic minority communities, as well as other voters with protected characteristics, including older people, transgender people, and people with disabilities.
I believe that a requirement to provide photo ID would simply suppress voting.
I can assure you I will oppose the voter ID proposals whenever they are brought before Parliament.
Sir Kevin Barron is the MP for Rother Valley.