Boris Johnson accused of using Queen’s Speech to rig result of next election

Boris Johnson has been accused of using Monday’s Queen’s Speech as a “blatant” attempt to rig the result of the next election.

Among the announcements expected include measures to force voters to show photo ID before being allowed to vote.

Hundreds of people were denied their right to vote in last year’s local elections after ministers forced through a pilot scheme, despite warnings it could disenfranchise older voters and people from minority groups.

The trial, which was held in eight council areas, resulted in 819 people being turned away.

Out of 44.6 million votes cast in the 2017 election, there were just 28 allegations of in-person voter fraud – the kind that would be prevented by requiring ID to vote

In a paper when the trial was announced, the Electoral Commission warned certain groups of the population were less likely to have acceptable forms of ID.

Cat Smith is worried many would become disenfranchised

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They include young people, people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women and the elderly.

Some 3.5m currently have no photo ID at all while 11m don’t have a passport or driving licence.

But the government has suggested councils could provide a form of ID for those affected.

Cat Smith MP, Labour ’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement, said: “Voter ID is a blatant attempt by the Tories to rig the result of the next general election .

“We will not allow the Tories to shut down our democracy by making it harder for people to vote.”

Shadow Cabinet Secretary Jon Trickett described the move as a “disgrace”.

While Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said it was a sign of “Tories introducing voter suppression measures to deal with a problem that does not exist”.

The Lib Dem’s Cabinet Office spokesman Tom Brake said: “The move by the Government to make voter ID compulsory is a thinly-veiled attempt to rig the results of future elections. We know from the pilot back in 2018 that voter fraud was inconsequential, whilst what the pilot did do was turn away a disproportionate number of vulnerable voters.

Boris Johnson is clearly taking a leaf out of Trump’s playbook by using false claims about voter fraud to suppress turnout.

“The trial was deemed a waste of time and the public’s money, and this roll-out will be no different. The Conservative Government have already showed disdain for our democracy and this move is simply further confirmation of that.

“Rather than electioneering by making it harder to vote, the Conservative Government should be focusing on ways to encourage democratic participation, such as through extending voting rights to 16 year olds.”

A Government source told the Telegraph: “A secure electoral system is vital. By changing the law to require voters to show some ID, as they do in many other daily activities, and taking steps to cut down proxy and postal voter fraud, we can ensure that everyone’s vote counts and strengthen public trust in our democracy.”

Sources said voters without the required documentation would be able to apply for a free “electoral ID” from their local council.


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