Liberal Democrats pledge to scrap Conservative Voter ID laws

The party will include a commitment to scrapping the proposed changes in its soon-to-be-launched manifesto. 

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The Liberal Democrats will pledge to scrap Conservative plans to require voters to bring identification with them to polling stations in their 2019 election manifesto.

The Electoral Commission’s report into the government’s trials of voter ID in the 2019 local elections led to 2,000 people being turned away from polling stations due to the lack of proper identification – 750 of them did not return. While electoral fraud does take place in the United Kingdom, the level of in-person fraud is low and the evidence that it is taking place undetected is non-existent: unless someone is rigging elections in line with national swing for the thrill of the chase.

The Conservative proposals, which Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesperson, referred to as “a voter suppression programme straight out of the Donald Trump playbook”, were condemned in 2018 by the Electoral Reform Society, Operation Black Vote, The Salvation Army, Age UK and Centrepoint, saying that they presented “a significant barrier to democratic engagement and risk compromising a basic human right for some of the most marginalised groups in society”.

The commitment that will be unveiled tomorrow alongside a swathe of policies aimed to strengthen human rights and tackle discrimination in all its forms. The wider programme will be unveiled by Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, Liberal Democrat candidates in Finchley and Golders Green and Cities of London and Westminster respectively.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics. He also co-hosts the New Statesman podcast.

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