Sir Mike Penning backs voter ID trials to protect votes from being stolen and highlights the success of voter ID in Northern Ireland.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker—it all comes to those who wait. I was here in 2003, not in the Chamber but up in the Press Gallery, and I listened to the Labour Minister explain why there needed to be voter ID in Northern Ireland. There was a debate in the Chamber at that time. I do not think that that Government could be called right-wing—it was led by Tony Blair, so it could not possibly have been right-wing. At the end of the day, has that been a huge success in Northern Ireland? I can say as a former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, yes it has. Why is it different in Northern Ireland? Why can we not protect votes from being stolen in England, Scotland and Wales?
That is absolutely right. My right hon. Friend helpfully reminds us of the history of how we got to this place, and I am grateful to him for placing it on the record. He makes the crucial point that this is about protecting voters. Why should it be acceptable for a voter potentially to be subject to having their vote stolen? That would be a dreadful crime—it is hardly some kind of victimless crime. It is a crime that, unfortunately, does happen in this country, albeit not in large numbers. That means that we have to act. These are the actions of a responsible Government to make sure that voters have their voice protected.