Playing fast and loose with the interpretation of the word ‘gerrymander’, Jacob Rees-Mogg pinned some of the blame for Tory local election failures on a misguided attempt to manipulate the franchise through voter ID laws:
“Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections […] we made it hard for our own voters and we upset a system that worked perfectly well.”
This despite Rees-Mogg arguing for voter ID plans two years ago, when the MP for North East Somerset warned “before personation becomes a risk it is only reasonable to ask people to turn up with their photographic identification,” before citing the ban on wearing hats or coats in the Commons divisions as precedent. Can you vote in flip-flops?
Meanwhile, carving up a counteroffensive down the left flank, Keir Starmer has spoken about extending the franchise by lowering the voting age to 16 and allowing settled EU nationals to vote in the general election. Lord Peter Cruddas fears Keir’s voting rights rejig will render it “impossible for the Conservative party to win an outright majority in the future.” Which is surely Keir’s aim!
On LBC this morning Starmer described settled migrants’ lack of full voting rights as failing “the common sense test”. Whereas EU nationals can already vote in local elections and Commonwealth citizens in generals, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled last year that UK nationals living in EU member countries can’t vote. A common market without common sense?