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Boris Johnson branded ‘tin pot dictator’ over voter ID proposals

Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson has been branded a “tin pot dictator” after his government unveiled plans to toughen voter ID laws.

Under the prime minister’s plan there will be a requirement to show an “approved form of photographic identification” before collecting ballot papers.

The bill will also ban party campaigners from handling postal votes, “put a stop to postal vote harvesting and make it an offence for a person to attempt to find out or reveal who an absent voter has chosen to vote for,” the Cabinet Office has said.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford hit out at the proposals at prime minister’s questions, branding the law “Trumpian”.

He said: “This bill is designed to do anything but increase the integrity of our elections. It is a solution in desperate search for a problem that does not exist.

“What this bill will do is impose – for the first time – Trumpian Voter ID laws on the UK. The Electoral Reform Society says it could lead to voter “disenfranchisement on an industrial scale”.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

“Disenfranchising people from working class communities, BAME communities and other already marginalised groups in society – creating barriers to vote.

“Prime minister – why is this Tory government trying to rob people of their democratic right to vote?”

Mr Johnson replied: “What we’re trying to do is to protect the democratic right of people to have a one person, one vote system.

“I think it is important that we move to some form of voter ID, plenty of other countries have it. I think it’s eminently sensible, people I think will be reassured that there votes matter and that’s what this bill is about.”

Mr Blackford hit back: “In 2019 there were around 58 million votes cast – there were only 34 allegations of voter impersonation. This is not a real problem.

“It is a British prime minister seeking to make it harder to vote, because it’s easier to get re-elected if the Government can choose their voters, rather than letting the voters choose their government.”

He added: “Will the prime minister withdraw these vote-rigging proposals immediately or will he continue down the path of a Tin-Pot dictator?”

Mr Johnson responded: “He’s making a bit of mountain out of a molehill, councils will be under an obligation to provide free photo ID to anyone who wants it.

“I do think it reasonable to protect the public in our elections from the idea of voter fraud, nobody wants to see it.”

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