MORE than 1,260 people were turned away from polling stations across the district at this month's local elections because they didn't have photo ID, it has been revealed.

The May 4 election was the first since the Government introduced new regulations requiring people to show photographic identity when attending to vote.

Bradford Council says that of the 1,261 voters turned away in the district, 763 later returned with the correct ID and were able to cast their vote. However, 498 people failed to return.

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, says: "Whatever anyone’s political views are, we should all be extremely concerned that the new rules resulted in people not voting this time around having legitimately cast their vote in previous elections. Our democracy is stronger when more people are able to take part and it is weakened when the legitimate right to vote is restricted.

"It is appalling that we had an admission from Jacob Rees-Mogg that photo ID was the Conservative Government’s attempt to gerrymander the system, in other words to manipulate who would vote. In his own words, our system had always worked ‘perfectly well’ before they brought in the photo ID rules.

"An added concern is that the number of people who were disenfranchised is even higher than any official figures show because we know there are residents who decided against trying to go out to vote at all due to the new restriction. Nevertheless, my thanks go to the dedicated election staff for working ably in difficult circumstances and like all councils we need to review lessons learned to ensure residents can exercise their right to vote."

But Keighley Conservative MP Robbie Moore describes the photo ID requirement as a "common-sense measure" which is backed by many constituents.

He adds: "At its core, this policy is about preserving the integrity of our elections and protecting our local polling stations against voter impersonation and fraud.

"Voter ID has already been in place in Northern Ireland and other comparable democracies for years and the measures introduced by the Government are in keeping with recommendations made by the Electoral Commission in 2014, which found vulnerabilities in our electoral system.

"The data on individuals in our area turned away from polling stations does not reflect claims that this policy would cause mass disenfranchisement – in fact, Ilkley and Keighley Central had the highest turnout figures across the Bradford district."