Voter Identification Trial

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General 12:00 am, 8th February 2017

What assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Electoral Commission’s finding on the number of people unable to vote if Government plans to trial the use of identification in polling stations were rolled out nationally.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)

The Government have outlined a variety of photographic and non-photographic types of identification that could feature in our pilot schemes, which will test rigorously the impact of ID on all aspects of elections, including turnout. I note that, in its 2016 report on Northern Ireland, the Electoral Commission said that less than 1% of voters were affected by photo ID, which is why we want to look at photo ID and non-photo ID to ensure that no disenfranchisement is taking place in our pilots.

Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General

The Electoral Commission reported in 2016 that 3.5 million electors have no appropriate form of photographic ID. Why is it that the Government are ignoring recommendations to have a voluntary voter card, which would allow those 3.5 million people to vote?

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)

The hon. Gentleman is a fine historian who, like me, believes in looking at the facts and in evidence-based policy making. That is why we have constructed the pilots to ensure that there is photographic identification and non-photographic identification. If there happens to be anyone who has no form of identification, we will make provision for them. Rolling out the electoral ID card across the country would be tremendously expensive and we have no plans to do so.