We must learn the lessons of the Windrush scandal
April 25, 2018
"The distress caused by the Windrush scandal to so many people who have spent their whole lives contributing to our communities, has been appalling. They have been left in fear of deportation.
"There are many lessons to be learnt from this scandal. Not least it has demonstrated that it is difficult for some BME communities to provide official papers. This should serve as a warning to the government to halt its proposal to introduce Voter ID.
"The local elections next week will see voters in pilot areas required to present official identification before they can exercise their vote. This will form a barrier to many people to taking part in the democratic process.
"Why is the government determined to exclude some communities from our democratic process, with this deliberately hostile stance?
"The Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned that Voter ID will have a disproportionate impact on some voters, particularly ethnic minority communities, older people, trans people, and people with disabilities.
"The commission has raised the concern that there is only one convicted case of electoral fraud following the 45 million votes cast at the 2017 local and general elections. The introduction of Voter ID is a disproportionate response and it will be our democratic process and voter engagement which will pay the price.
"Everyone should have an equal right to have their say via the ballot box and lack of a passport or other identification documents should be no barrier.
"Research has shown that strict voter ID requirements in the United States are a well-established method of conservative US states to depress voter turnout amongst minority groups. Yet the government seems determined to follow the example of the US Republican Party.
"Labour is calling on the government to abandon its intention to introduce Voter ID.
"In the wake of the Windrush scandal, it is vital that the government puts human rights before ideology or bureaucracy."