SNP and Greens hit out at voter ID plans in Queen’s Speech

Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media during a visit to Airdrie

Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media during a visit to Airdrie, North Lanarkshire - Credit: PA

The SNP and Scottish Greens have hit out at plans for voter identification contained in the Queen’s Speech, while the Scottish secretary says it “delivers for Scotland”.

Proposals in the UK government’s legislative programme would require voters to have photo identification in Westminster elections.



Of the 33 Bills set out in the Queen’s Speech, 30 will apply fully or in part to Scotland.

Those which apply fully include the Online Safety Bill, which will require social networks to tackle illegal content on their services and clearly set out in their terms what content is and is not acceptable.

Legislation on borders is also expected to overhaul the asylum system.


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The Electoral Integrity Bill, which includes the voter ID proposal, applies in part to Scotland – though the SNP says it does not support the voter ID requirement for Holyrood elections.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “This is a Queen’s Speech which delivers for people in Scotland, and right across the United Kingdom, as we focus entirely on recovering our economy and our public services from the devastating effects of the Covid pandemic.

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“The prime minister and the UK government have been working tirelessly on the pandemic, putting in place an unprecedented level of financial support, and securing millions of vaccine doses for people in all parts of the country.”

He added: “We will continue to support top-level R&D, encourage our businesses to innovate, and create vital new and green jobs.

“We will invest directly in Scotland’s communities, building on the success of our £1.5 billion City Deals programme with Freeports, better connectivity, and a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

“And Scotland’s businesses will continue to benefit as, outside of the EU, we strike new trade deals around the world.”

Responding to the speech, the SNP’s Westminster depute leader, Kirsten Oswald, said: “Boris Johnson’s Trump-like plans to disenfranchise thousands of voters across Scotland and the UK are an act of blatant Tory voter suppression – and must be stopped.

“There is a very real danger that many lower income, ethnic minority, and younger people will be prevented from voting to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

“These laws are designed to suppress votes among groups that traditionally vote against the Tories.

“It’s a disgrace.”

Scottish Greens co-leader, Patrick Harvie, said the UK government was not backing up its rhetoric on environmental change.

He said: “For rhetoric to mean anything it needs action and real investment in green jobs across the UK.

“But we’ve seen this government would rather hand out millions to their friends.

“There are also worrying signs of a further power grab by the Tories.

“We know they plan to encroach on Scotland’s devolved transport policy by expanding roads here, and the plans for voter ID is a blatant pitch for voter suppression among those who are more likely to vote this government out.”

The prime minister has previously said the claims of voter suppression are “complete nonsense”.

He told the Downing Street press conference on Monday: “What we want to do is to protect democracy, the transparency and the integrity of the electoral process.”

Downing Street says that trials have demonstrated that 99.6% of people in pilots requiring people to show photographic ID had managed to vote without difficulty.

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