Khan slams new voter ID rules ahead of next year’s mayoral election

The mayor is hoping to win a third term at City Hall in May 2024 but the vote will be held under different rules to previous elections, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Sadiq Khan is launching his 2024 mayoral campaign (credit GLA)
Sadiq Khan is standing for a third mayoral term in 2024 (credit GLA)

Sadiq Khan will set out his stall this afternoon (Thursday 2nd) for next year’s mayoral election, while claiming that “900,000 Londoners could be silenced” due to voter ID requirements.

The Labour mayor will outline his future priorities for the capital in a speech at the Centre for London think tank’s annual conference, as he asks Londoners to entrust him with an historic third term at City Hall.

The requirement for voters to have a photo ID was introduced through the Elections Act 2022, and was used for the first time in the local elections in May this year – which took place outside of London.

Khan is expected to tell conference attendees: “I’m under no doubt, this election will be the toughest yet.

“Not only will it be the first in London using the first past the post system, but also every Londoner will be forced to show photo ID to take part.

“Let’s just call this what it is: a cynical attempt to make it harder for people to vote. All told, 900,000 Londoners could be silenced.

“To everyone here, I ask you: use your voice to ensure no one else is denied theirs, because democracy belongs to us all.”

The mayor’s figure is derived from Labour-commissioned Opinium polling which found that 15% of Londoners do not have voter ID. A total of about six million Londoners were on the electoral register as of December last year.

The polling found that among 18 to 34-year-olds, the figure rises to 20%, while reducing to 12% among 35 to 49-year-olds, 13% among 50 to 64-year-olds and 10% among those aged 65 and over.

When Khan voiced concerns about the same poll findings in October, a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “These claims are untrue.

“The vast majority of voters in the polling station – 99.75% – cast their vote successfully at the local elections in England in May.”

The Electoral Commission believes that the 0.25% of voters who were unable to vote due to lack of ID is an underestimate. They said this is partly as a result of data quality issues but also because some people will have been reminded of the ID requirement before they could be recorded in the data.

Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall, along with Green candidate Zoë Garbett and Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie, will also speak at Thursday’s conference.

Mayoral elections previously ensured a form of majority support for the winning candidate through the supplementary vote system, with voters able to express a first and second choice for mayor.

The new system used will only require the winning candidate to receive more votes than any other – the same as in general elections.

A poll conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies and published in The Times in September showed Khan winning just 33% of the vote, with his Tory rival Hall close behind on 32%.

The survey of 1,100 London voters also showed that if Jeremy Corbyn decides to run as an independent, it could cause Khan to lose to Hall, with her winning 30% and the current mayor taking 25%. The former Labour leader would win 15%.

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