11 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call for independent equality assessment of Voter ID plan
  • Liberal Democrats: Government must halt use of facial recognition by police

Liberal Democrats call for independent equality assessment of Voter ID plan

The Liberal Democrats are calling for independent equality impact assessments into voter ID to protect “the legitimacy and integrity” of the UK electoral system as the Government looks to press ahead with voter ID legislation.

Citing evidence from around the world demonstrating that Voter ID makes it more difficult for people to vote, Liberal Democrat MPs are raising deep concerns that voter ID checks “will disproportionately impact ethnic minorities” at the polling booth.

The Liberal Democrats are firmly opposed to any move to bring in voter ID and, in a letter to Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove, are calling for:

  1. An independent equality impact assessment on the introduction of voter ID requirements, with the outcome published before any legislation moves forward.
  2. Assurances that no change to voter ID requirements will be brought in if an independent equality impact assessment raises concerns that any group of voters are likely to be disproportionately impacted by this change.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

Safeguarding our democracy should be the priority of any responsible Government. People must have faith that any changes to voting procedure are fair and necessary.

It is scandalous that this Government is moving forward with plans for mandatory voter ID without even assessing the risk that Black and Minority Ethnic groups may be disproportionately impacted.

Ministers must guarantee that an independent equality impact assessment will take place, and we will have the results before the Government proceeds.

The Liberal Democrats strongly oppose any move which will prevent people participating in our democracy and urge the Government to drop this reckless plan.

Liberal Democrats: Government must halt use of facial recognition by police

Responding to the ruling from the Court of Appeal that the use of automatic facial recognition technology by the South Wales Police is unlawful, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokeperson Christine Jardine said:

This ruling is hugely important in the battle to protect civil liberties in this country. The unlawful use of facial recognition in Cardiff raises serious questions about its use by British police forces in the future.

This new form of mass surveillance is being rolled out without any safeguards to protect innocent people from being discriminated against or having their privacy invaded. The Liberal Democrats have long been clear that this is unacceptable – we do not want to see the UK become a society where innocent individuals feel their every movement is being monitored by the police.

Liberal Democrats will always fight to protect civil liberties. The Government must immediately halt the police’s use of facial recognition surveillance, before more innocent people face discrimination or see their rights disregarded.

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2 Comments

  • Tony Harris 12th Aug '20 - 8:19am

    I have never understood why we don’t use the same system for ID they use in the USA. If you drive you have a picture driving license. If you don’t drive you can get a ‘license’ with your photo on it marked ‘not valid for driving’ for $15. We already have DVLA. Why do all the UK ID systems seem to cost multiple millions to implement? It’s ridiculous. The system is already there. Use it!

  • @Tony Harris – Having recently filled out various official forms, I note that a UK photo driving licence is the only piece of id that stands on its own, everything else (including a passport) requires the submission of secondary evidence.

    So I suspect we already have a defacto Id card – which as you note only requires a small adjustment to make it applicable to those that don’t drive.

    Interestingly, because of my work, I tend to carry my driving licence as often I have to pick up hire cars. I suspect I’m not the only one, so we are also developing the habit of carrying our Id card…

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