Jeremy Corbyn accuses ministers of trying to ‘suppress’ ethnic minorities through voter ID plan
Jeremy Corbyn has accused ministers of a “blatant attempt” to suppress ethnic minorities, the poor and the elderly through their controversial voter ID scheme.
Under a new electoral integrity bill, revealed in Monday's Queen's Speech, voters will need to present photographic ID before casting their ballot at any election.
But the Labour leader said the move was “clearly discriminatory” as the proposals would “disproportionately” hit minority groups.
Speaking ahead of a visit to the Black Cultural Archives in south London, Mr Corbyn said: “These plans are clearly discriminatory and a blatant attempt by the Tories to suppress voters, deny people their democratic rights and rig the result of the next General Election.”
“The people that the Tories are trying to stop voting will be disproportionately from ethnic minority backgrounds, and they will disproportionately be working class voters of all ethnicities.
“We will not allow the Tories to shut down our democracy and shut ethnic minority voters out of our democracy by making it harder for people to vote.”
Labour pointed to figures showing that out of 44 million votes cast in 2017, just one conviction resulted from 28 allegations of in-person voter fraud.
Meanwhile the Electoral Reform Society added that 3.5 million citizens do not have access to any photo ID, while 11 million do not hold a passport or driving license.
The Government has said that voters who do not hold suitable documents will be able to apply for a free "local electoral identity document".
Conservative Party chair, James Cleverly, said of the Labour leader's comments: “Jeremy Corbyn is yet again sowing the seeds of division. If anything tougher checks against electoral fraud will protect the democratic rights of all communities.”
Mr Corbyn will visit Brixton’s Windrush Square to mark Black History Month, where he will say: “It is vital that we build on the successes of Black History Month and develop a more inclusive understanding of our shared history.
“That is why the next Labour government will ensure that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history, as well as the legacy of the British Empire, colonisation, slavery and the struggle for emancipation”.