The UK Government’s undemocratic Elections Bill has its second reading in Parliament today. Let’s be clear – this Bill is nothing more than an attempt to rig democracy in the Tories’ favour under the guise of tackling non-existent mass fraud in UK elections.
If passed, it will unravel decades of democratic progress in the UK. I will be voting against it today.
The UK Government’s plans to introduce voter ID are discriminatory. Millions can’t afford the privilege of carrying photo ID and this Bill risks denying them their democratic right to vote – in particular the elderly, low income and Black, Asian and ethnic minority voters.
This pointless policy is set to cost millions of taxpayers’ money at every election. Never in British history has an election been undermined due to mass fraud, so how can the UK Government justify spending millions on this instead of bringing fair funding to Wales to give our public sector workers the pay rise they deserve, or reversing their own brutal cuts to policing and vital services that undermine the safety of our communities?
This Bill would also allow foreign political donations from offshore tax havens or luxury second homes to flood our system, as well as removing scrutiny and proper accountability through the independent democratic watchdog, enabling the Conservatives to keep pushing through their dodgy deals, cover ups and conflicts of interest.
Throughout this pandemic we’ve undoubtedly seen a rise in public engagement on how decisions are made on its behalf that impact our daily lives. Instead of empowering communities, the Tories are now attempting to erode democracy and ultimately take power away from working people by centralising it in their own hands. They’re missing an opportunity to empower 16 and 17 year olds by bringing forward votes at 16, which worked with great success in Wales at the recent Senedd elections.
No matter how the Conservatives dress this up, the Elections Bill will reverse decades of democratic progress and will make it harder for people to exercise their democratic right to vote. Labour will be standing against it and will be urging the Government to reconsider this ploy.