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Boris Forgets His Own Rule He Introduced As PM, Has No Photo ID While Voting

Boris Johnson
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Former British prime minister Boris Johnson was turned away from a polling station because he forgot to bring a photo identification card when coming to vote in the local elections on Thursday. Johnson, who quit as prime minister in 2022, had himself introduced the law that photo identification be made mandatory. This was done to crack down on voter fraud.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask first-time voters to produce some evidence of identity,” Johnson had said of the new rules in 2021. Previously, British voters had only needed to give their name and address to be able to vote.


The former prime minister has had a colourful political career, one that has included a number of gaffes. When he was London mayor, he was once left dangling in the air when he got stranded on a zip wire. As prime minister, he was pictured appearing to retreat into a large refrigerator, while being pursued by a camera crew for an interview.

There have been other scandals as well but the most prominent was “Partygate” where the then British prime minister and his staff were found to have had lockdown-breaking parties in April 2022. This contravened the laws that he himself had set, ensuring that Johnson was soon forced to resign. According to a media report in the Independent, Johnson was the prime minister to have broken the law, while in office. Rishi Sunak, who is now the current prime minister, was fined.

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Despite the scandal, Johnson hung on to power and it took a revolt of 60 of his own MPs to finally make him resign from office in July 2022. This included his entire cabinet.


Johnson’s photo identification rule has also been criticised. In a report in Politico, the UK’s Electoral Commission said they were an attempt to remove the vote for less well off and poorer ethnic minorities, groups who were less likely to vote Conservative. Johnson’s supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted in 2023 that the rule was an attempt to “gerrymander” future elections. He added that the rule failed as most people did not know about it.

A poll by YouGov showed 14% of Britons were still unaware, in the days prior to Thursday’s elections, of the voter ID requirement.

(With inputs by agencies)