Sadiq Khan tells May to protect Windrush generation from voter ID trials

Sienna Rodgers

Today Sadiq Khan has called on Theresa May to protect the Windrush generation from disenfranchisement that could occur due to voter ID trials.

Labour is concerned that the compulsory voter ID project, which requires people to present identification at polling stations before casting their ballot, could stop the generation of Caribbean immigrants who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 from voting.

In London, where all council seats are up for election on Thursday, Labour says over 6,500 Bromley residents could potentially be affected by the new voting restrictions. Trials are also being held in Gosport, Woking, Swindon and Watford.

Sadiq Khan said: “With just a few days to go until the important local elections on 3 May, it’s vital that the government provides a guarantee that its new controversial voter ID trials will not prevent a single person in London – or in other parts of the country – who has been impacted by the shocking Windrush scandal from being able to vote.  Nothing short of a guarantee will do.

“The Windrush scandal has demonstrated that it is difficult for some people in our communities to provide official papers and identification.  It would be completely unacceptable for the trials to continue if there is the slightest possibility that the Windrush scandal could stop Londoners from exercising their democratic rights.

“If the government is unable to offer a guarantee that people in Bromley and elsewhere will be not be prevented from voting, then the only right, just and proper thing to do would be to completely scrap the trials and to hold the election under the normal rules.  If members of the Windrush generation – and their family members – are prevented from voting, it would only add insult to injury to those who have already been treated inhumanly by the government and made to feel so unwelcome in their own country.”

This is the Mayor of London’s letter to the Prime Minister in full:

30 April 2018

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing with regards to the compulsory voter ID trials set to take place in London (Bromley), as well as other parts of the country, during the upcoming local elections on Thursday 3 May.

With just a few days to go until these important elections, I would urge you to provide a public guarantee that there is no possibility at all that this controversial pilot scheme could prevent a single Londoner who has been impacted by the shocking Windrush scandal from being able to vote.

The recent Windrush scandal has demonstrated that it is difficult for some people in our communities to provide official papers and identification.  I am sure you would agree that it would be completely unacceptable for the trials to continue if there is the slightest possibility that the Windrush scandal could stop people in London or in other parts of the country from exercising their democratic rights.

In light of the recent shocking revelations about how poorly some people from the Windrush generation have been treated, I would ask you to reconsider the appropriateness of continuing with the trials in Bromley and across the country.  If the Government is unable to offer a guarantee that Londoners will be not be prevented from voting, then it’s clear the only right, just and proper thing to do would be to completely scrap the trial and to hold the election under the normal rules.

There’s no doubt that if members of the Windrush generation – and their family members – are prevented from voting, it would only add insult to injury to those who have already been treated so inhumanly and made to feel unwelcome in their own country.

As you will be aware, a group of charities and campaign groups has already written to the Government to warn that the controversial plans to trial compulsory voter ID at the local elections could risk disenfranchising large numbers of vulnerable people.

Before it is too late and more mistakes are made, I would urge you to take all the recent revelations into consideration, and rethink this issue immediately.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London

Cc Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary

Cc Chloe Smith MP, Constitution Minister

Everything Labour.
Every weekday morning.

By clicking ‘subscribe’ you confirm you have read and agree to our privacy policy

More from LabourList