The Queen’s Speech included proposals to tighten rules on voting, with voters needing to show an “approved form of photographic ID” when turning up to polling stations.
Jeremy Corbyn accused the Government of trying to “stifle democracy” and said the legislation would disproportionately target working-class, ethnic minority and young voters.
A passport or a driver’s licence featuring a photograph will need to be produced in order to have a say at the next election under the plans being proposed by the Government.
But ministers said those who do not hold such identification documents would be able to apply for free for a local electoral identity document to avoid losing their vote.
The fine print in the draft bill also places extra burdens on postal voters, with fresh requirements to re-apply every three years to vote by post.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman defended the plans as “proportionate and reasonable steps” to improve the electoral system’s security.
“In Northern Ireland, people have been showing photo ID since 2003 without any impact on the number of people who go and vote,” he said.
“Local authorities will provide voters without the required ID with alternative methods of ID free of charge to ensure that everyone eligible to vote has the opportunity to do so.”