Scottish Parliament opposes voter ID plans, declaring them 'Trumpian'

Holyrood has refused to back plans to require voter ID at general elections, with MSPs calling the measure “Trumpian”.

The Scottish Parliament refused to give its consent to the UK Elections Bill at Westminster, with only the Scottish Tories backing the plans.

The Bill will make it a requirement for voters to show an approved form of photographic identification before collecting their ballot paper to vote in a polling station in a general election.

But Scottish Government minister George Adam described the proposals as “unsatisfactory and troubling reforms” and said they would “create a barrier to those people without an accepted form of ID and risk confusing voters as to what is needed in each election”.

He indicated the Scottish Government has no plans to follow suit with Holyrood elections and suggested it was “voter suppression”.

There were six prosecutions for electoral fraud at the last election in 2019.

In a debate about the Bill, Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby said the proposals were “a Trumpian attempt to rig democracy in favour of the Conservative Party”.

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Boris Johnson’s plan to introduce voter identification in the UK have been described by a Labour MSP as "a Trumpian attempt to rig democracy in favour of the Conservative Party”. (Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Bibby said: “Disgrace is a word that’s often overused in politics, but there is no other word to describe this Election Bill and the motivations behind it.

“I’m afraid it represents a Trumpian attempt to rig democracy in favour of the Conservative Party who are desperately, desperately trying to cling on to power.

Stephen Kerr says it strengthens our democracy but it is an attack on fundamental democratic freedoms aimed at stifling opposition and deterring participation in the democratic process.”

He added: “It can’t just be a coincidence that those most likely to fall foul of these new laws are overwhelmingly groups unlikely to vote Conservative.

“This Bill cynically and brazenly will hit the young, those on low incomes and those from the most marginalised communities.

“The Electoral Reform Society has said these plans could lead to disenfranchisement on a massive scale.”

However, Scottish Conservative Stephen Kerr argued that similar measures have been in place in Northern Ireland since 2003 and said: “Frankly, such is the sacred way in which we should view the right of a citizen to exercise their vote, that protecting it in this way seems like a very good idea to me and I’m really at a loss to understand how any democratic politician could object to the idea that we are protecting those badges of citizenship – namely the vote.”

He added: “This is a reserved Bill dealing with reserved matters about UK general elections.

“There is no power grab from the UK Government, the only power grab we witness in this Parliament are the antics of the SNP who gradually draw all power to themselves and then dispense it on the basis of grace and favour. That’s really not the way democracy works.

“And that is why I fully support the measures contained in this Bill before the UK Parliament which will strengthen and increase the security of our democracy, one of the oldest in the world, and one of the most successful unions between countries in the history of the world.”

A motion stating that the Scottish Parliament does not consent to the UK Elections Bill as it is “disenfranchising voters” passed by 91 votes to 29.

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