Jacob Rees-Mogg could be reported to the police over Tory ‘gerrymandering’ claims

“It seems to me there is a real possibility that the only fraud could be this Government."

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Former Tory minister Jacob Rees-Mogg could be reported to the police, an MP has warned, after he admitted that voter ID laws were about ‘gerrymandering’ and boosting Tory support rather than tackling electoral fraud as the government claimed.

Rees-Mogg told the National Conservatism conference in Westminster: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.

“We found the people who didn’t have ID were elderly and they by and large voted Conservative, so we made it hard for our own voters and we upset a system that worked perfectly well.”

The voter ID law which came into effect for the first time during local elections earlier this month, had been widely criticised by opposition parties as well as democracy campaigners.

In the Commons, Labour MP Dawn Butler described Rees-Mogg’s comments as “deeply concerning” and suggested she may report them to the Parliamentary Standards Authority or the police.

She said: “Yesterday, the former minister admitted that the proposal was a deliberate attempt to manipulate electoral outcomes in favour of the Conservative Party, a strategy he termed as gerrymandering.

“In other words, the deliberate bending of electoral rules or boundaries for partisan gain. He said it backfired however in the recent local elections.

“It is deeply concerning to see the blatant could-be politicisation of policy and organisation intended to ensure the fairness and security of our democratic process.”

She added: “The justification for the policy was to combat voter fraud.

“It seems to me there is a real possibility that the only fraud could be this Government. I just wonder if you can advise me whether I should report this to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and the police?”

Deputy Commons Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton responded: “I should say that if she is intending to pursue this through the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner or to the police she shouldn’t really be raising it in the House. She might like to reflect on that.”

She added: “I am sure that (Mr Rees-Mogg) will have heard her comments. She has put her concerns on the record. I suggest that at this point, given that I am sure the Treasury bench will report back what she has said, that we leave it at that.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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