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Voter ID Pilots

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 27 June 2018

2. Whether he has made an assessment of the operation of recent voter ID pilots; and if he will make a statement. (906086)

7. Whether he has made an assessment of the operation of recent voter ID pilots; and if he will make a statement. (906091)

We are encouraged by the data from the returning officers and the statements they have made indicating that the pilots were a successful test of the implementation of voter ID. The Electoral Commission will publish its evaluation in July and the Cabinet Office will conclude its own evaluation at the same time.

Does the Minister agree that additional measures should be brought in, given that the issue affects the vulnerable, the elderly and, in my constituency, ethnic minorities?

I welcome my hon. Friend’s commitment, which I share, to helping voters to be able to cast their ballots in a way that also protects the integrity of the wider system. Let us never forget that that is not only an individual advantage, but in the collective interest.

Following the recent trials in this year’s local elections, the Minister will be aware that local authorities such as Woking recorded a 99.7% success rate on voters bringing the correct ID. Does she agree that that demonstrates that we should consider rolling this out further to secure the integrity of the ballot?

What my hon. Friend says is absolutely the case. The measures that we piloted at the local elections just past were reasonable and proportionate and have been shown to have worked. Furthermore, other countries already do this without problem. The overwhelming majority of people were able to cast their votes in these pilots without any issue. I look forward to considering the best next steps, informed by those pilots.

I am sure that the Electoral Commission will provide those who look for problems with a little bit of data to chew on, but the point is this: it seems to me that the Labour party is looking for problems. Actually, most voters regard this as a reasonable and sensible step that protects our democracy.

We agree about the importance of preventing voter fraud and other electoral malpractice. The Electoral Commission ruled that Leave.EU breached spending limits and other rules, fined the organisation and reported its responsible person to the police. What steps are the Government taking to address that and how will the Minister ensure that the issue of cheating in the Brexit referendum is pursued?

As you will know, Mr Speaker, given your role in connection with it, the Electoral Commission is an independent body. I am not able to respond at this point to questions about investigations that it is undertaking.