We must widen democracy not shut it down


Categories: News

Today in the House of Commons I took part in the debate on the Queen’s Speech (Day 3): ‘A bright future for the next generation’ and spoke about the stark contrast between efforts by the SNP Scottish Government to make it easier for more and more people to vote, including 16 & 17 year olds, refugees and foreign nationals with right to remain, and the efforts of the Tory UK Government to suppress voting through the ‘Electoral Integrity Bill’ which will require photo ID from all voters.

There is no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United Kingdom so why are the Tories wanting to bring in a costly and completely unnecessary voter ID scheme?

It’s because they know full well that disproportionately, it will be the young, the poor, the already marginalised and the minority communities who don’t have a passport, or who don’t drive or who haven’t managed along to register for and collect a voter ID card, that will be affected by this legislation.

Brendan O’Hara MP speaking in the debate on ‘A bright future for the next generation’

They know full well that already in the United Kingdom there are between 2.5 and 3.5 million people who do not have access to photo ID.

And they know full well that a significant proportion of this group won’t go through the bureaucratic hoops to get the photographic ID they’ll need and that they will almost certainly join the nine million UK citizens who are already missing from the Electoral Register.

All of this benefits the Tories; it won’t be their well-heeled voters who struggle to provide photo ID it’ll be those who oppose the Conservative party and their efforts to continually degrade and disadvantage great swathes of the population.

In Scotland, we will do everything we can to oppose this plan and will continue to ensure that as many people living here can exercise their democratic right to vote.

You can hear my speech here: