The Electoral Commission, election officials, local authorities and civil society organizations have voiced concerns over the Elections Act, as passed by Parliament in April 2022. Requiring voters to show photographic identification before being allowed to vote in parliamentary, local and certain other elections, the Act will apply to the local elections scheduled for May 2023. The list of acceptable forms of voter ID was published in secondary legislation this month and faced criticism for disproportionately approving forms of ID held by older people vis-a-vis younger generations. For those who do not hold an approved ID, a Voter Authority Certificate will be made available, although arrangements for this will not be finalized until January 2023 at the earliest. In private correspondence with the Government, it was also revealed this month that the Electoral Commission described the voter ID timeline as neither “workable” nor “secure” and warned that it has the potential to disenfranchise parts of the electorate, particularly those already marginalized. Its potential to polarize and affect trust in the electoral process has additionally been raised.
Rishi Sunak has become the fifth Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in six years following a cursory Conservative Party leadership contest. His predecessor Liz Truss resigned following the continuing fallout from the ‘mini-budget’ in September, making her the shortest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom with a term of 45 days. Sunak has become the first UK Prime Minister of colour, and also the wealthiest, with him and his wife possessing double the wealth of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.
After winning the Conservative Party leadership contest, Liz Truss succeeded Boris Johnson to become the fourth Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in six years. Johnson had announced his resignation in July 2022 following a set of scandals within the governing party, including ‘partygate’ – in which the now former Prime Minister was fined for breaking lockdown rules. Truss has faced an unstable start to her premiership, as the announcement of the ‘mini-budget’ led to turmoil in the financial markets, with the pound falling to an all-time low against the dollar and the Bank of England launching a £65 billion bailout for pension funds.