Today Members of Parliament are debating the second reading of Jim McMahon MP’s Private Members Bill, backed by city MP Stephen Morgan.
The Bill proposes to do a number of things including reducing the voting age to 16 in parliamentary and other elections, making provision about young people’s education in citizenship and the constitution.
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:
“The time to give votes to 16 year olds has arrived. It’s already happening in Scotland and in Wales.
The Government are quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of the debate, while Labour are yet again showing that they are the party of the many”.
Votes at 16 is a priority for young people. This year 950,000 young people voted in the UK Youth Parliament UK-wide ballot called ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot, and Votes at 16 was made one of their five priority campaigns.
Research also indicates that the longer young people have to wait to participate in political life, the less engaged they are when they are adults. As the Electoral Reform Society has said ‘vote early and vote often’.
“Equipping young people with a voice on the issues affected their lives is more important now than ever before. Above all, this is a debate about strengthening our democracy; about inclusion; and about how we involve all of society in shaping a vision for our great city and our country.
This isn’t a new debate, but the time has now come to make this a reality. So I’m fully behind Jim McMahon’s Bill to lower the voting age to 16.”
The Bill can be viewed at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0015/180015.pdf