I called out Jacob Rees-Mogg for his comments on gerrymandering (Picture: PA)
Sometimes, the intricacies of Britain’s archaic parliamentary system confuse and shock me, and it happened again last week.
It was after I had called out Jacob Rees-Mogg in the House of Commons for his recent comments at the National Conservatism Conference, where he said that voter ID, which the Tories enacted at the local elections, was a form of ‘gerrymandering’ that had backfired on the party.
Given how strongly the government defended the policy, this seemed like a clear admission that they had misled the people, and warranted further investigation at the very least.
That should have been straightforward – but the lack of avenues for me to pursue this in Parliament has left me exasperated.
And that lack of avenues leaves the Tories the ultimate authority on their own behaviour – and I suspect that they know this. In my opinion they are trying to take the public for fools and quite frankly it is not OK.
Rees-Mogg admitted: ‘Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.’
As recently as February, minister Lee Rowley said the plans were a ‘basic, fundamental change to ensure that we protect the integrity of the ballot box.’
For me, this raises the inevitable conclusion that Conservative ministers openly lied about the intentions of their voter identification policy in the Elections Act 2022. It’s a very serious accusation.
In Rees-Mogg’s own words, the policy backfired for the Tories in the recent local elections because elderly people – the majority of whom tend to vote Conservative – did not take their ID with them to vote.
Voter ID is set to be expanded at future elections (Picture: PA)
It certainly had an impact – data from 160 out of 230 councils that held elections this month suggests that 26,165 voters were initially denied ballot papers at polling stations and that 9,577 did not return with the correct ID.
So, it seems at least 10,000 people were stopped from voting, and we don’t even have the full picture yet – nor will we ever truly know how many people were put off from turning up in the first place.
These numbers could be huge – enough to influence elections.
Despite that, this week they announced voter ID will be in place for postal and proxy votes too.
In 2021, I wrote an article saying that the government introducing voter ID for elections was nothing more than a cynical attempt at voter suppression.
In April this year, just a few weeks before the election, I again said I believed this was just a Tory power grab.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted the introduction of mandatory Voter ID was a deliberate attempt to manipulate electoral outcomes in favour of the Tories.
This means ministers lied about their intentions!
So, should I …read more