This week I raised a point of order in the House of Commons following the admission by Jacob Rees-Mogg, former Leader of the House, at the National Conservatism Conference that the introduction of mandatory voter ID was an attempt at gerrymandering, to manipulate votes in their favour.
I believe that Ministers have intentionally misled the country over their intentions of this policy as introduced in the Elections Act 2022. This is the blatant abuse of the democratic process, and a report by Omnisis for ByLine Times estimates that the new rules may have deterred up to 2 million from voting in the recent May elections.
These changes were supposed to combat voter fraud at elections however it seems to me the only fraud thus far has been committed by this Tory government.
I therefore asked the Deputy Speaker of the House for her advice on how to take this matter forwarded and indeed whether this was a matter for the police or the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
I will keep members updated on my campaign to hold the government to account.
The full transcript:
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am deeply troubled by the recent admissions by the former Leader of the House, the right hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg), regarding the introduction of mandatory voter ID, which have raised the prospect that Ministers may have misled the country about the intentions of the voter ID policy in the Elections Act 2022. Yesterday, the former Minister admitted that the proposal was a deliberate attempt to manipulate electoral outcomes in favour of the Conservative party, a strategy he termed gerrymandering —in other words, the deliberate bending of electoral rules or boundaries for partisan gain—although he said that it had backfired in the recent local elections. It is deeply concerning to see the blatant could-be politicisation of policies and organisations intended to ensure the fairness and security of our democratic process. A recent report by Omnisis for Byline Times indicated that the new rules may have deterred up to 2 million people from voting in the May elections. The justification for the policy was to combat voter fraud. It seems to me that there is a real possibility that the only fraud could be this Government. Can you advise me, Madam Deputy Speaker, whether I should report the matter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the police?
Did the hon. Lady notify the right hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg) that she intended to raise this matter?
I should say that if the hon. Lady intends to pursue those matters through the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards or through the police, she should not raise them in the House, so she might like to reflect on that. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman to whom she refers will have heard her comments. She has put her concerns on the record. I suggest at this point, given that those on the Treasury Bench will, I am sure, report back what she has said, that we leave it at that.