Opinion: Lobby MPs on votes at 16 ahead of Commons debate this week

Liberal Youth Votes at 16 banner

Stephen Williams MP has recently brought forward a motion about extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds: this means that the House of Commons will debate the issue on 24th January. In 2005 his motion on the topic failed by just 8 votes. As such, it’s exceedingly important that as many MPs who support votes at 16 attend the debate and vote if possible.

Liberal Youth Scotland has been strongly pushing for votes at 16 for all referendums and elections this year, starting with our Freshers’ Week postcards. In light of the fact that the SNP must now deliver on the commitment, agreed by Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore, to give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in the independence referendum, the argument that they are not mature enough to make important political decisions does not hold. If they can help decide about an issue of such importance as Scotland’s future, they should be able to participate in all other referendums and elections as well.

Currently, 16 and 17 year olds in the UK can marry, leave school, get a job and pay taxes as well as join the armed forces. When young people contribute to society in so many ways, we believe it’s imperative that they are granted the right to vote so they can represent their views at the ballot box and take part fully in the democratic process. Extending the franchise means younger voters are given the opportunity to represent their own issues, instead of relying on older voters to do it for them.

Liberal Youth Scotland, with the help of Liberal Youth, are calling on members, activists and supporters of Votes at 16 all across the country to help raise the profile of this debate by getting in touch with MPs to ask for their support. We hope the independence referendum has been the catalyst to ensuring Votes at 16 becomes a priority for the government. Please help us to open up the debate by signing our petition, lobbying MPs on Twitter and Facebook or use our letter template on the LYS website to contact your MP to ask for their support.

* Hannah Bettsworth is an Executive Member and Jenny Marr is Vice-President Communications of Liberal Youth Scotland

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

3 Comments

  • “Currently, 16 and 17 year olds in the UK can marry, leave school, get a job and pay taxes as well as join the armed forces.”

    What happens to this argument when the school-leaving age rises to 18, though?

  • Dave Fawcett 21st Jan '13 - 2:28am

    I don’t have a strong opinion either way about the age at which young people should be allowed to vote. What I do have a strong opinion on is that , whatever age is decided, be it 14, 16 or 18 the age should be consistent for everything. hannah and Jenny make the point that ‘currently, 16 and 17 year olds in the UK can marry, leave school, get a job and pay taxes as well as join the armed forces.’ Those same young people cannot buy a drink in a bar until they are 18. Surely for consistency and sheer logic the age, whatever it is, should apply to everything.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 4:22pm
    You missed Panorama, Tomorrow's Food, Watchdog and Antiques Roadshow, Glenn. Why so coy? And The Apprentice was created by Mark Burnett, not Donald Trump.
  • User AvatarGlenn 29th May - 4:08pm
    Expats My argument if you read it is Consistent. I think the BBC mostly produces utter tripe and I don't watch ITV either, coz I...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 29th May - 4:08pm
    I think a big part of it could come down to policy. I recently heard Jeremy Corbyn saying he wants to build Labour policy now...
  • User AvatarNom de Plume 29th May - 4:03pm
    I am also a supporter of publicly funded broadcasters. I find, given the choice to choose between watching the publicly funded TV and commercial alternatives...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 29th May - 4:02pm
    Glenn " Why do they have to pay twice if to watch something on say Sky even if they can afford it?" 96% of people...
  • User AvatarAndrew 29th May - 3:32pm
    Also interesting how this summary doesn't mention the (largely false) attack piece on Liberal Youth