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Veterans Won’t Be Able to Use Veterans’ ID Cards to Vote in General Election – Despite Rishi Sunak Claiming he is ‘Proud of Our Record Supporting’ Them After Skipping D-Day Event

A leaked memo by Veterans’ Affairs Minister Johnny Mercer revealed Rishi Sunak’s circle initially denied requests to allow the cards to be accepted over fears it would ‘open the floodgates’ to student ID cards 

Rishi Sunak was the missing man… Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and US President Joe Biden at the D-Day 80th Anniversary International Ceremony at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on 6 June 2024. Photo: Abaca Press/Alamy

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Veterans’ ID cards will not be accepted as a valid form of voter identification in the General Election, Byline Times can reveal – just weeks after Rishi Sunak left the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day early and then repeatedly claimed he is “proud of our record in supporting veterans here in the UK”.

Despite promises from both Downing Street and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, veterans will not be able to use their cards at polling stations on 4 July.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson confirmed to Byline Times that “the list of accepted ID is set in law and has not changed since the May elections”.

During the local elections last month, decorated former Army officer Adam Diver was turned away at the polls in Lancashire because his veteran ID card was deemed “unacceptable”.

Mr Diver posted about his experience on X (formerly Twitter), which then went viral. Veterans’ Affairs Minister Johnny Mercer responded and gave assurances that plans were in place to add veterans ID cards to the list, and that they would be accepted at the UK’s next election. 

A Number 10 spokeswoman reportedly echoed Mercer’s promise, stating that “it is our intention for the new Veteran Card, which was rolled out in January, to be added to the official list”.

But, just under three weeks later, the General Election was called – now rendering that promise void. 


Veteran Blocked From Using Army ID to Vote ‘Was Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer’s Sergeant Major’ in Afghanistan

Adam Diver became embroiled in a row with the minister after Mercer branded a Tweet about him being denied a vote as “fake news from a fake bloke”

Byline Times confirmed Mr Diver’s veteran status and discovered that he had served as a non-commissioned Sergeant Major in Afghanistan alongside Mercer himself. 

Shortly after the local elections in May, The Times revealed that Mercer had lobbied Downing Street for adding veterans’ ID cards to the list of valid voter ID for elections. But, in a leaked memo written by Mercer, he claimed that Rishi Sunak’s circle denied his requests over fears that it would “open the floodgates” to student ID cards being accepted as well. 

Byline Times understands that the necessary secondary legislation required to include veterans’ cards was drafted in May and making its way through the parliamentary pipeline. But Sunak’s abrupt decision to dissolve Parliament cut that legislation short, breaking Mercer’s – and the Prime Minister’s own – promise to veterans. 

Mr Diver said it was “very disappointing” and told this newspaper that “maybe we need a person with no affiliations or allegiances to any political party for an unbiased approach to this issue”.

Ted Arnold, senior public affairs and policy manager at Help for Heroes, added: “As a charity, we have produced guidance to ensure veterans are aware of the changes in law and can access support to get the required ID so they can cast their vote.

“Since January, the Veteran ID card has become more widely distributed, and we share the frustrations of many that it cannot yet be used as a valid form of voter identification.

“Along with others in the veteran community, we have repeatedly raised this issue and welcome that commitments have been made to address this in future elections.

“The Veteran ID card came to fruition as a result of the formation of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, which we hope to see the next government commit to keeping. This, along with a review of the medical discharge process, and fair access to benefits and compensations for veterans, form our ‘Veterans Pledge’, which we are urging all party leaders to sign.”


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Commentator, author and presenter Carol Vorderman told Byline Times that it was “yet another broken promise from the Tories and Johnny Mercer”.

Johnny Mercer did not respond to a request for comment.

The Labour Party has claimed in its 2024 Manifesto that it would seek to “address the inconsistencies in voter ID rules that prevent legitimate voters from voting” – specifically mentioning “the case of HM Armed Forces Veteran Cards”.

For now, veterans will have to use one of the other accepted forms of voter identification on 4 July, or they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (the Government’s free voter ID pass) before the deadline of 26 June. 

Additional reporting by Josiah Mortimer

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