BORIS Johnson’s plans to force voters to show photo ID at Westminster elections are “Trump-like”, according to the SNP, which branded them “blatant Tory voter suppression”.

The party’s deputy leader at Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, condemned the proposal revealed in the Queen’s Speech, which the SNP said will deter lower income, ethnic minority and younger people from voting – groups that are less likely to vote Tory.

It has pledged to reject any such measures for Scottish elections and referendums and, instead, will focus on measures to extend the franchise and encourage turnout.

The party has already introduced votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, refugees and foreign nationals with leave to remain. The Scottish election last week had the highest turnout in the history of devolution.

“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,” said Oswald.

“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.”

She said the SNP will reject any such measures for Scottish elections, and added: “Instead of suppressing votes, the SNP government is focused on extending the franchise and encouraging higher turnout, including by introducing votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, refugees and foreign nationals with leave to remain.

“Instead of running scared of democracy and trying to curtail the voting rights of millions of people, the Tory government should follow Scotland’s lead.”

Signalling her return to Parliament after a bout of illness, Joanna Cherry described the plans as a “deterrent” during BBC coverage of the Queen’s Speech. The Edinburgh South West MP was taking part in the broadcaster’s annual show as the UK Government set out its post-pandemic priorities and the laws it intends to pass in the new session.

One of the policies that caused a hot debate on the BBC was the possibility of photo ID for voters, which the UK Government said would “ensure the integrity of elections”. 

Around a quarter of voters, often younger ones, do not have a passport or driving licence.  Cherry said this was more likely to deter voters.

Tory minister Gillian Keegan was quizzed by Huw Edwards on why this issue has become a priority for her government, and if there was evidence of widespread voter fraud.

The National:

Keegan said: “From my perspective when you look at designing systems, that actually is a better design of the system so it would make sure that there wasn’t any voter fraud. I mean there has been talk about there being some, and that would close the loophole, it’s important to have trust in the system.”

Cherry said the UK Government had not offered any proof that this is an issue. She said: “We’ve just had a record turnout in Scotland, people are embracing democracy, this is a way or potential route to them stopping democracy. What the government needs to do is produce evidence that there’s a problem. In Northern Ireland people have had to do this for a long time because there was widespread evidence of voter fraud and voter abuse to do with particular circumstances there, which don’t thankfully exist in Scotland, England or Wales. 

“It’s astonishing to see the Government putting so much effort into a new system for which they are unable to point to any evidence that it is required. If there was evidence of a significant mischief here then yes I think all responsible politicians would need to sit down and look at what we do about it, but we know from other countries such as the United States of America that this can be a deterrent.”