The Labour Party, which also criticised the announcement, accused the Conservatives of “rigging democracy in their favour instead of working to strengthen it”.
Cat Smith, the party’s shadow minister for democracy, said: “While the Welsh Labour government has taken radical steps to bring people into democracy and empower voters, the Conservative government refuse to take any action to improve our outdated elections and are focused solely on changing the rules to benefit the Conservative Party.”
The changes will apply to the election of council and "metro" mayors across England, and to Police and Crime Commissioners across both England and Wales.
The move comes as MPs debate the government’s Elections Bill, which critics see as a power grab by the Conservative Party.
Writing for openDemocracy, a former electoral commissioner condemned the “appalling” plans, which include restricting the independence of the UK’s election watchdog.
“It is difficult to express just how appalling this is,” said David Howarth. “Electoral Commissions, like the courts, do not exist to please elected politicians. They exist to protect free and fair elections, which they can’t do unless they are independent and free from the control of the ruling party.”
CommentsWe encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.