“This reply by the Tory Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution is simply a whitewash and fails to address our concerns regarding the Tory plans to force people to have a photographic ID for future UK elections,” said Councillor Kenny MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest).
Following the near unanimous support across the council chamber for a motion by Cllrs Kenny MacLaren and Will Mylet condemning the Tory Government plans for Voter ID – only the Tory councillors supported these plans – the council sent a letter to the Prime Minister highlighting the council’s objections. A response has now been received from Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, basically ignoring the concerns of councillors and re-iterating the plans to force voters to have photographic ID if they wish to vote in future UK elections.
The Tory Government claim that this legislation is to tackle voter fraud, yet the scale of the problem is miniscule compared to the proposed remedy. There are fears that bringing in photo ID for voting will impact more heavily on the poorest in society, those who are more likely not to have either a passport or a driving licence – who coincidentally are least likely to vote for the Tories.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:
“This is just another attempt by the Tories to attack the poorest in society, by finding a way of removing or at least limiting their right to vote.
“I’ve been contacted by the Electoral Reform Society who wanted to use Renfrewshire Council as a case study to help promote their campaign to scrap this legislation. Anger to this move has been growing steadily, this is clearly a Tory policy to stop the poorest in society from voting.”
Councillor Will Mylet said:
“This is another typical Tory attack on the poorest in society. Not happy with cutting benefits or introducing the bedroom tax and the reliance on foodbanks, the Tories now want to make it more difficult for poorer people to vote.
“Not a single case of voter fraud has been proven to take place in Scotland over the last 4 years – there is no need for this legislation.”