Boris Johnson once vowed to “eat” compulsory ID if any government introduced it

Does the Prime Minister proposing photo ID for voting believe the law shouldn’t apply to him?

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Boris Johnson’s government has announced plans to make photo identification compulsory for voting — a move that has been denounced as an act of “voter suppression”. As campaigners and opposition parties have warned, working class and ethnic minority groups are less likely than others to have ID (and, conveniently, are also less likely to vote Conservative). 

Johnson, presumably, can sympathise with the revolt against compulsory voting — because he was once part of it. 

In 2004, writing as a Conservative MP, Johnson declared in the Daily Telegraph: “If I am ever asked, on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and when I am simply ambling along and breathing God's fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it.”

Had the author of those words stolen Johnson’s identity? Or does the Prime Minister simply believe that the new law should not apply to him? Your mole awaits an explanation.

I'm a mole, innit.

Free trial CSS