Portsmouth City Council to discuss whether to fight government's Elections Bill

VOTER ID rules would be ‘a barrier’ to people voting and ‘increase inequality’, the leader of Portsmouth City Council will say next week.

By Josh Wright
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:43 pm

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson will propose a motion at Tuesday’s full council meeting calling on councillors to back plans to write to levelling up secretary Michael Gove raising concerns about the new Elections Bill.

‘It’s just trying to steal tactics from the US Republicans and trying to exclude people who are poorer from voting,’ he said. 'Photographic ID is just not easily available to large numbers of people in this country.

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A voter places a ballot paper in the ballot box at a polling station Picture: PA

‘The Elections Bill will make it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of people to take part in our democratic processes under the guise of resolving a tiny issue.’

The government said the bill would 'ensure that UK elections remain secure, fair, modern, inclusive and transparent' and reduce instances of electoral fraud.

The bill is being considered by the House of Lords, having passed its final Commons hurdle at the beginning of the year.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson's motion will call on the council to support writing to Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove to raise these concerns and to urge MPs Penny Mordaunt and Stephen Morgan to raise them in parliament.

‘The city council notes that the Elections Bill is set to bring in major changes to national elections, including the introduction of compulsory photographic ID to vote,' it will say. 'The city council believes that this change will act as a barrier to people voting and increase inequality in the electoral process.’

It adds that the requirement to check ID will add 'an unnecessary burden' on councils during elections.