CONTROVERSIAL proposals to introduce voter ID at general elections have been lambasted by Inverclyde’s council leader and MP.

Stephen McCabe and Ronnie Cowan both believe the move could affect voter turnout in the district.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan to bring in the policy last month.

It would require anyone who wishes to cast a vote to show photographic ID – such as a driving licence – before being given their ballot paper.

The government says the move is designed to tackle voter fraud.

But Labour's Mr McCabe and SNP man Mr Ronnie Cowan believe the change will do more harm than good.

Councillor McCabe said: “There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud so they are taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“There is a danger this plan will lead to fewer people voting, particularly those groups in society who have less access to traditional means of identification like passports and driving licences.

“I would urge the government to abandon this proposal.”

Mr Cowan believes the move could hit poorer communities of Inverclyde hard.

He added: “Voter engagement is crucial in any democracy and we should be doing everything we can to encourage people to vote.

“The more barriers we put in the way, the fewer vote.

"This is particularly true in less affluent areas."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “In our current electoral system, there is inexcusable potential for someone to cast another’s vote at the polling station.

“That is why we are bringing forward legislation to stamp out the potential for fraud.

“Newly published research shows 98 per cent of people already have the identification required and we will work with the electoral sector and make the new requirements clear to the public in advance of elections.”