Written parliamentary questions aren’t often the source of good political theatre, though recently Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith cleverly rebuffed a question from Dan Carden on the government’s introduction of election voter ID. Carden asked what effect the introduction of voter ID will have on “the ability of (a) Black, (b) Asian and (c) minority ethnic people to vote.” Smith retorted by pointing out:
“Photo identification has been required in Northern Ireland since 2003, when introduced by the last Labour Government. Labour Ministers told Parliament: “The measures will tackle electoral abuse effectively without disadvantaging honest voters…. [ensuring that] no one is disfranchised because of them ”… If we believed that thousands of voters would not be able to vote because of this measure, we would not be introducing it at this time”. There has been no adverse effect on turnout or participation by such groups since then.
Chloe Smith also pointed out Labour’s stonking hypocrisy in their opposition to voter ID, while at the same time requiring identification from members to attend party meetings and to join:
“ID is already requested normally and reasonably in many areas of life, including by many constituency Labour parties, who require voter identification to vote in Labour Party selection meetings. The Labour Party’s NEC also mandates two forms of ID for any members joining an association which is in special measures.”
Guido reckons that’s game set and match to Chloe there…