PMQs: Ian Blackford calls Boris Johnson a 'tinpot dictator'
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Ian Blackford faced Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a tense stand-off during Prime Minister’s Questions as Mr Blackford accused the Government of shutting out millions of voters in the UK who do not have photo identification they can bring to the voting booth. The Government is attempting to crack down on voter fraud despite the issue not being a huge political issue in the UK currently but is seeking to prevent it from being one. The House of Commons erupted when Mr Blackford attacked the Conservative leader as he accused him of shutting out people who would never vote for him.
Speaking during PMQs, Mr Blackford challenged the Government’s decision to introduce voter IDs for in-person voting.
He and Labour fear it would disenfranchise millions in the UK who do not have photographic ID.
He told the house: “Goodness gracious Prime Minister, come on, there were 34 allegations of impersonation in 2019.
“This is a problem that does not exist, it is a British Prime Minister seeking to make it harder to vote because it’s easier to get reelected if the Government can choose the voters.
“Rather than let the voters choose the Government.
“Mr Speaker, three and a half million people in the UK do not have a form of photo ID.
“11 million people do not have a passport or a driving licence, these millions of people will be directly impacted by seeing their rights to vote curtailed.
“It is not just the opposition saying this, members of the Prime Minister’s own party have called his plans an illogical and illiberal solution to a non-existent problem.
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“Will the Prime Minister withdraw these vote-rigging proposals immediately or will they continue down the path of being a tinpot dictator?”
Backbenchers were heard roaring at the last comment with Mr Johnson quickly taking to the dispatch box to reply to Mr Blackford.
He said: “He’s making a mountain out of a molehill if I may respectfully suggest.
“Councils will be under an obligation to provide free photo ID to anyone who wants it and I do think it is reasonable to protect the public in our elections from the idea of voter fraud.
“Nobody wants to see it, and by the way, I don’t think elections in this country should be clouded or contaminated by the suspicion of voter fraud and that is what we are trying to do.”
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The Government presented new plans on Monday to introduce voter IDs for elections to curb voter fraud in the UK.
Announced during the Queen’s speech, forecasts suggest the decision could cost the taxpayer £40million over the next decade.
Critics also suggest around two million people will lack the correct level of documentation to apply for the IDs in the first place.
The move appears to be influenced by fears of voter fraud in the US which clouded the Trump/Biden election after Donald Trump claimed there was rigging of postal votes.
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