Fresh criticism over voter ID election trial held in Gosport

Candidates observe the count in Gosport last month. A trial was held forcing voters to bring proof of their identity to the polling station. 'Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Candidates observe the count in Gosport last month. A trial was held forcing voters to bring proof of their identity to the polling station. 'Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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LAWYERS have said the trial requiring voters to prove their identity at elections could have been unlawful.

Such a trial was held in Gosport at the borough council elections in May, which saw a number of people unable to vote as they failed to bring proof of identity to polling station in the town.

Now two barristers from Blackstone chambers have said ministers went beyond the law in bringing in the trial, held across several boroughs.

The Guardian reported that voter engagement shadow minister Cat Smith, said: ‘After this intervention, it is impossible for the government to justify its undemocratic and unlawful plans.’

But government has hit back, saying the scheme was lawful.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told the national newspaper: ‘The powers to make the pilot scheme orders are contained in section 10 of the Representation of the People Act 2000 which enable changes to be made to the rules regarding the conduct of elections.

‘The act was fully debated and passed by parliament.’