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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Skates backs Corbyn over "missing" voters

A Labour Assembly Member has echoed new leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call to ‘stop Tory gerrymandering’ – and wants missing voters to make sure their voices are heard.

Earlier this year Clwyd South AM Ken Skates backed a campaign led by Ed Miliband to ensure a million extra people were able to be part of the democratic process.

He said: “Every voter counts, so it’s crucial that as many people as possible who are eligible to vote are on the electoral register.”

Labour’s pre-General Election drive highlighted that around a million members of the public, many of them young people, were in danger of being denied a vote after disappearing from the register following changes made by Westminster.

This week, at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn said he would launch a new bid to give the missing voters their voice back.

He accused the Conservative Government of ‘gerrymandering’ by changing the registration rules and proposing boundary moves which would make it easier for David Cameron’s party to retain seats in the House of Commons.

Mr Skates said: “The tactical introduction of a new system – where people must register individually rather than one member of a household filling in a form – is the cause of this. The Tories don’t want to hear what these people have to say.

“The Labour Party has worked hard to ensure that as many of these voiceless voters are given back their democratic right, and we won’t give up.”

Earlier this year, Wrexham County Borough Council revealed that its number of registered voters had fallen by 2,769 in 12 months, from 104,532 to 101,763.

Mr Skates added: “There has been a huge emphasis on ensuring non-voters get engaged with politics, yet the fact that so many people – especially students – are unable to vote is completely undemocratic. Young people deserve to have their voices heard.

“We are seeing attitudes to politics change, and – while there will always be a degree of disillusionment and disinterest – huge swathes of the UK are now actively engaging like never before. Labour alone has seen an incredible 166,000 new members join since the General Election, and that number continues to grow, but there’s still work to be done.”

Mr Skates added that being on the voter register can also help people boost their credit rating and therefore help with loan, credit card or mortgage applications.

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