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Plans to Force Voters to Show Passports in Areas with Large Muslim Populations

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Voters in towns and cities with large Muslim communities where there are concerns about election fraud will have to show their passports or driving licences before casting their ballot.

The Government has announced that voters will have to produce identification to vote to reduce the risk of "endemic corruption" and protect the democratic process.

The voter ID scheme will be trialled in 18 areas which have been identified by police and the Electoral Commission as being "vulnerable" to voting fraud, including Bradford and Birmingham. The pilot schemes will be implemented during local elections in May 2018 before they are rolled out nationwide.

Former Mayor of London slams idea

Ken Livingston, who served as Mayor of London from 2000-2008 told BBC radio’s Today program that the proposal is too draconian a solution to a minor problem.

“Lots of people do not have a passport, don’t have a driving license, don’t get utility bills in their name. A load of people would not even be aware of the change and they’ll turn up, not have any of that, and be turned away,” Livingstone said.

“Just imagine the uproar there’d be if we said: ‘there’s a lot of shoplifting going on, we’re going to search every customer as they leave,’” he added.

Government’s defence of the scheme

In an article for the Telegraph, Chris Skidmore, minister for the Constitution, said: "We already ask that people prove who they are in order to rent a car, buy a mortgage or travel abroad - and I believe we should go further by taking the same approach to protect voting rights.

"In many other transactions ID is an essential requirement - voting for a democratically elected government, your MP or your councillor is one of the most important transactions someone can make and it is right that in turn their identity and the security of their vote should be protected."

Crackdown on passport fraud

The government has urged students and young people not to take passports on nights out as part of a new crackdown on passport fraud. The new national campaign encourages students and any young people who use a passport for age verification to use alternative identification methods.

Alternative identification methods include PASS, the UK national proof of age accreditation scheme which issues a photo identification card. The scheme is endorsed by the Home Office and funded by trade organisations including the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Beer and Pub Association.

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘A passport is a highly valuable document. If it gets lost or stolen, not only does it cost the holder money to replace it, but it can fall into the hands of criminals unless it is handed in and cancelled.’

OTS Solicitors is regarded as one of the best Immigration law firms in the UK. If you need advice on any Immigration law matters, please phone our office on 0203 959 9123 to talk to one of our dedicated Immigration lawyers.

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