As if there was any doubt, the government has ruled out extending voting rights to EU citizens and 16-year olds. In an excoriating letter published by the Mail this morning, Michael Gove slammed Sir Keir’s talk of “rigging” future elections by opening the franchise to those with settled or pre-settled status, and accused the Labour leader of trying to “downgrade the ultimate privilege of British citizenship“. While also pointing out that Starmer also believes only those above 18 should be legally allowed to change gender…
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison has also made it clear this won’t be happening any time soon. In a written statement to Stella Creasy, who asked whether the Department plans “(a) revoke, (b) retain or (c) replace the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001”, Davison said:
“Further to the Elections Act 2022, which amended the franchise for elections reserved to the UK Government to reflect changes to EU citizen’s voting and candidacy rights as a result of our new relationship with the EU, the Government has no plans to extend voting rights in General Elections to those with settled or pre-settled status.
The Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 will be retained.”
Still, while Gove is accusing Starmer of attempting to “rig” elections, Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed the National Conservative conference yesterday that the Tories themselves had attempted to “gerrymander” the local elections with Voter ID laws…
Yesterday Guido revealed Laura Pidcock was fined £3,835.32 for cheating in her re-election attempt. Today Guido can reveal three other Members of Parliament have been fined by the Standards Commissioner after using Parliamentary resources for party political campaigning.
All three politicians had, like Pidcock, sent constituents campaign letters using Parliamentary stationery and tax-funded second class stamps. After constituents complained the Standards Commissioner investigated the breaches and handed out fines, all of which have now been paid. Nothing more than a slap on the wrist…
The intellectual fashion on the Corbynista left is to be totally opposed to voter ID checks, arguing they disenfranchise minorities and marginalised groups who may not have access to any form of ID. This morning David Lammy shared an article about how voter ID “risks disenfranchising vulnerable people”, while Corbynista mouthpiece Ellie Mae O’Hagan writes today:
“Conservative attempts to suppress votes go hand-in-hand with their repeated attempts at gerrymandering. These acts are straight out of the Republican playbook in the US: take away people’s democratic rights and rig the system in such a way that you can keep hold of power whether the population likes it or not.”
Turns out in practice Labour are pro-voter ID checks and are demanding more than ever during their internal elections. As this page on Lammy’s local Tottenham Labour’s website explains:
“How will we check people’s ID? We will be using a two-level check to verify the person attending is who we have on our membership list. Named Photo ID: This is for branch officers to see photographic ID which has a name that matches the name on the list and is of the person who has presented to the meeting… Proof of Address: It is possible that a member may no longer live in the ward or constituency where they are registered. To prove they are eligible to vote, we will need to see recent (no older than 3 months) proof address: Types of recent proof of address: Utility bill, council tax bill, bank statement, mortgage statement, NHS letter etc. What happens if members do not have these forms of ID? […]
“It is rare members have no form of ID.”
On the weekend there was speculation that Theresa May would go in September 2019 after delivering Brexit in the spring and allowing an orderly Tory leadership succession campaign over that summer. In that context you can see why she said yesterday in Japan “I’m in this for the long term because there’s a long-term challenge for the United Kingdom”. Asked if she wanted to fight the next election, she said: “Yes.” Bear in mind that even a few months before the election she was telling us there would be no snap election.
In reality there is little to no chance she will lead the Tories in another general election. There is no appetite for it among Tory MPs or activists who all think she led a disastrous campaign, that she is wooden and robotic without any ability to empathise with voters. The only reason she is still leader is because nobody wants her job right now and Tory MPs fear a change of leader would risk the public wanting another general election before they have figured out how to deal with the Corbyn menace. There is the small matter of Labour also being ahead in the polls…
If she had given a date it would only kick off more speculation and more leadership jostling from Tory wannabees. Punters favour that she goes in the summer of 2019, barring mishap that seems about right. Guido is not convinced that May will have much choice in going beyond that date…
Unfortunately for Moran, this makes 80% of her Times readers c**ts, as only 20% of Times readers voted for Labour in 2015. This figure pales in comparison to the 55% who voted for the Conservatives in that election.
Even worse for Moran, The Times today officially endorsed the Conservatives this morning.
Can’t wait for her defeat column on Saturday…
UPDATE: Moran has now deleted the Tweet, possibly after a stern word from the boss.
Two LibDem candidates are taking the whole Remainiac thing a bit far. Hugh Annand, their candidate in Hitchin and Harpenden, is living the LibDem dream by declaring an address in Belgium. He works for the Commission in Brussels, natch.
Meanwhile Anthony Sycamore, standing in Stockton North, is a musician living in France:
On the doorstep via Skype?