PM accused of acting like ‘tin-pot dictator’ over voter ID plans

Ian Blackford described the plans to introduce voter ID as 'Trumpian'.

PM accused of acting like ‘tin-pot dictator’ over voter ID plans Parliament TV

Boris Johnson has been accused of attempting to “rob people of their democratic right to vote”.

At PMQs, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggested the Prime Minister was acting like a “tin-pot dictator” over his government’s plans to require voters to show photographic ID before casting their ballots.

Johnson however insisted that the legislation is about reassuring voters that their votes matter.

“This week, the Tory Government introduced its so-called Electoral Integrity Bill,” Blackford told the Commons.

“In reality, the Bill is designed to do anything but increase the integrity of our elections. It is a solution in desperate search of a problem that simply does not exist.

“What the Bill will do is to impose for the first time Trumpian voter ID laws in the UK.

“The Electoral Reform Society says it could lead to voter disenfranchisement on an industrial scale.

“Disenfranchising people from working class communities, BME communities and others already marginalised in society, creating barriers to vote.

“Prime Minister, why is this Tory government trying to rob people of their democratic right to vote?”

Johnson responded: “What we’re trying to protect is the democratic right of people to have a one-person, one-vote system.

“And I’m afraid that I have personal experience, I remember vividly what used to go on in Tower Hamlets.

“And I think it is important that we move to some sort of voter ID and plenty of other countries have it and I think it eminently sensible and people I think will be reassured that their votes matter and that’s what this Bill is about.”

Blackford warned that millions of people could have their right to vote curtailed under the proposals.

“Goodness gracious Prime Minister, come on. There were 34 allegations of impersonation in 2019, this is a problem that does not exist,” he responding.

“It is a British Prime Minister seeking to make it harder to vote because it’s easier to get re-elected if the Government can choose their voters, rather than letting the voters choose their government.”

He continued: “3.5m people in the United Kingdom do not have a form of photo ID. 11m people do not have a passport or driver’s licence.

“These millions of people will be directly impacted by seeing their right to vote curtailed.

“And it’s not just the opposition saying this, members of the Prime Minister’s own party have called his plans, ‘an illogical and illiberal solution to a non-existent problem’.

“Will the Prime Minister withdraw these vote-rigging proposals immediately or will he continue down the path of being a tin-pot dictator?”

Johnson said that elections in the UL should not been “clouded” by suspicions of voter fraud.

He responded: “Right, well, I think he’s making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill, if I may respectfully suggest.

“Councils will be under an obligation to provide free photo ID to anybody who wants it and I do think it reasonable to protect the public in our elections from the idea of voter fraud.

“Nobody wants to see it, and by the way, I don’t think elections in this country should be in any way clouded or contaminated by the suspicion of voter fraud.

“And that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

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