Total Politics makes Stephen Williams MP of the month for votes at 16 campaign

Stephen Williams MPLiberal Democrat MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams is Total Politics magazine’s MP of the month for April persuading the Commons to pass his motion calling on the Government to make progress towards lowering the voting age to 16. We brought you the story earlier this year.

Total Politics wrote about Stephen’s work:

The MP’s care for young people’s representation is self-evident, as he has also served on the children, schools and families committee and education and skills committee. In 2006, he organised the latter committee’s first inquiry into bullying in schools, following up with a campaign against homophobic bullying in schools. Despite this, Williams’ voting record reflects the Lib Dems’ turmoil after joining Cameron’s coalition. Notable for a politician so dedicated to the rights of the young, he abstained from the vote on higher tuition fees.

Yet the long-standing campaigner has achieved a sizeable symbolic victory in securing the Commons’ support for votes at 16. If all goes according to Williams’ plan, younger people can prepare to play their part in choosing the next government.

Editor Ben Duckworth had this to say about the consequences:

If politicians like Williams are willing to listen to the voices of the young on the issues that affect them – employment, Educational Maintenance Allowance, housing benefit and student fees – it will be a positive step forward. Politics can only benefit from young people’s input.

Stephen is clearly a strong liberal voice for young people. We should be helping him build an unstoppable momentum for permanent change following the Independence Referendum next year, where another Liberal Democrat, Michael Moore, has secured the right of 16 and 17 year olds to vote.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Good work!

  • Michael Moore worked so tirelessly to gain votes for 16-17 year olds in the independence referendum that he, em, opposed extending the franchise as recently as last year:

  • ‘We should be helping him build an unstoppable momentum for permanent change following the Independence Referendum next year, where another Liberal Democrat, Michael Moore, has secured the right of 16 and 17 year olds to vote.’

    Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

  • Er, Michael Moore, member of the Westminster parliament, had nothing to do with the Scottish parliament’s extension of the franchise.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 3rd Apr '13 - 7:25pm

    Calum, Nik and Rod: the franchise extension to 16 and 17 year olds is part of the Edinburgh Agreement negotiated very professionally and amicably between Mike Moore and Nicola Sturgeon. Given that both parties have long standing policy in favour of votes at 16 for all elections , it’s not really a surprise. However, Mike had to get the UK Government in general and David Cameron in particular to agree with it so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.

  • Appearing on BBC1’s Sunday Politics, Mr Moore stated: “I think the fairest basis is to use the franchise that elected the very parliament that gave the First Minister his mandate to have a referendum.” This would exclude voting to anyone under the age of 18.
    Sorry, Those are not words of support.

  • Iain Macmillan 3rd Apr '13 - 7:46pm

    Caron Lindsay havers again! Nae surprise there then!

  • Alison George 3rd Apr '13 - 8:15pm

    ““Scottish referendum: don’t allow under-18s to vote, says Michael Moore” (The Telegraph, 19th February 2012)

    “Scottish independence: No vote for under 18s, says Michael Moore” (The Scotsman, 19th February 2012)

    “Sixteen and 17-year-olds should be barred from voting in a referendum on independence for Scotland, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said.” (Paisley Daily Express, 19th February 2012)”

    Those newspapers must all be pretty embarrassed today at having misinterpreted Mr Moore’s comments so badly.

  • David Wilson 3rd Apr '13 - 8:42pm

    Caron – So really what your saying is that the only reason 16 and 17 year olds got the franchise is because of the SNP’s wish to include them, because left to the Lib Dems, it frankly would never have been suggested let alone actually happen. While you think Moore deserves credit for his intervention, do you not think that the SNP deserve some credit for actually carrying out a policy you endorse, something completely missing from this article.

  • Alison George 3rd Apr '13 - 9:09pm

    Mind you, it’s odd that he didn’t correct them at the time.

  • Caron,
    Are you seriously suggesting Michael Moore had any hand in votes for 16 & 17 year olds in theindependence referendum?

    This wasn’t negotiable. The Scottish government demanded this right from the word go. He had no part in getting it through Westminster either.

    Westminster had no option but to agree to it for obvious reasons and fine you know it.

    This HAS to be the worse peice of spin I have read in some time.

  • “Given that both parties have long standing policy in favour of votes at 16 for all elections , it’s not really a surprise. ”

    Did it surprise you when Michael Moore rejected long standing policy by insisting that 16 an d 17 year olds not be allowed to vote?

  • Donald Macaulay 4th Apr '13 - 2:49am
  • Ms Lindsay, it’s over 9 hours now since your reply to me and others on this thread. In light of the evidence , why not admit your mistake and retain a modicum of dignity and respect.

  • Possibly because it’s 4:30 in the morning and most normal people have enough of a life to leave the internet alone and go to bed at that sort of time?

  • Alison George 4th Apr '13 - 11:47am

    It’s 11.47am now…

  • It seems LD Voice has a bad case of laryngitis.

  • Now I see why they’re such a trusted and popular party.

  • Hywel, FYI , when I posted @ 0425 I was 30 minutes home from what I think of as a “normal” job.. Showered, cuppa , fire up the machine to check on any replies to a post I made earlier. Anything abnormal about that?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 6th Apr '13 - 8:32am

    At the start of all the faffery around the referendum process, the SNP said they didn’t need any interference from Westminster to make the referendum legal, and that they weren’t going to bother with the Electoral Commission, they’d set up their own body to oversee things.

    There was never an issue between Mike Moore and the SNP over votes at 16 as it’s been the policy of both parties for some time. The issue Mike had was bringing the rest of the Government on board which explains his earlier comments. Mike has been widely praised for his role in calmly delivering a referendum process that you could never have imagined the Tories or Labour agreeing to on their own.

    Remember what relations were like between the SNP Government in Edinburgh and the Labour government in London – pretty toxic on a good day. I’d say Mike was the top Lib Dem performer in Government for his work on facilitating a process that everyone seems to be happy with.

  • I don’t dispute that the Liberal Democrats want to extend the franchise to 16-17 year-olds in all elections (as do the SNP). But, you really have gone far beyond the bounds of believability by claiming Michael Moore was in favour of this for the Scottish Independence Referendum. Those links already provided [by Donald Macaulay] (and a simple web search throws up countless more) make abundantly clear Mr Moore’s stance.
    “The UK Government is also not persuaded that we should start changing the referendum rules to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Our view is that the electorate that elected the Scottish Parliament should be the same one that votes in the referendum. Extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds is another issue which needs to be discussed separately, and if agreed, applied to all elections.”

    “I am still not convinced that the people of Scotland should have to wait nearly three years to have their say on independence. It is a long time until autumn 2014 and I have not yet heard a compelling reason why we should wait so long.”
    “The SNP have won on timing – although, to be honest, it couldn’t have been held much before Autumn 2014, and also on giving 16/17 year olds the vote.”

    “There is a certain irony that the Liberal Democrats who effectively vetoed a referendum on independence at Holyrood in 2007 have been pivotal in sorting out the details of such a poll in 2012. It’s a better referendum because of our input. Not only that, but Michael Moore’s role in ensuring that 16 and 17 year olds get a vote must not be forgotten.”

    Caron, in contradiction to Mr Moore, you admit that the Scottish Government got both the timing correct, and their wish to give 16-17 year-olds the vote. The rest of what you’ve written is misleading and disingenuous.
    Note too, that in spite of what Michael Moore says about the vote for the 16/17 age group, the UK government categorically states that this does not set any precedent.

    As to integrity, credibility, and principles… well, the Liberal Democrats lost it all when they jumped into bed with the Tories at Westminster. The people of Scotland won’t forget that.
    And, Michael Moore’s complete ‘change of mind’ to the opposite view within a few months says it all. So, why would the people of Scotland believe a word that the Liberal Democrats, the other anti-independence parties and/or Better Together say? What they tell us and promise us, much like the weather, will likely change in 15 minutes. The people won’t be taken in again with any promises of ‘jam tomorrow’, or outright lies. Look where that’s got us. The truth is, Scotland is only doomed if it votes no.

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