The UK Government’s new Elections Act contained a myriad of worrying measures, including the restriction of the involvement of civil society in elections, and the restriction of the right to vote through voter ID requirements that are manifestly unnecessary.
SNP MPs have repeatedly condemned the undemocratic Elections Act, with SNP MP Brendan O’Hara taking lead in the battle against this terrible act.
This Tory government has no interest in accepting alterations or recommendations for their Bills, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. While the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales develop and protect the franchise, the UK Government is determined to undermine the right to vote and the integrity of UK elections.
That is why the Tories voted down every SNP amendment that would have removed the worst elements from the Bill, and the SNP’s amendment that would have introduced automatic voter registration, negating some of the harm of their voter ID requirements.
The UK Government even rejected the very slight amendments that the Lords attempted to include in the bill, and ensured that the Act was passed into law in the worst possible form it could have taken.
The SNP continue to oppose voter ID, but will raise awareness of the harm it will bring and attempt to minimise it by making sure people are aware of the new requirement for Photo ID in UK elections.
The Scottish Government have no plans to introduce voter ID for Scottish elections, and my SNP colleagues and I will oppose any attempt to force voter ID on Scottish elections.