Jo Swinson MP, the youngest Member of the House of Commons, is leading a new call from MPs to lower the voting age to 16.
Tuesday 12th May, was the 40th anniversary of the voting age being lowered to 18. To commemorate this, and in light of the latest evidence showing popular support for Votes at 16, Jo is leading a new call in Parliament for the voting age to be lowered to 16.
Jo explained: “Young people aged 16 and 17 often have a lot of responsibilities, and are increasingly asked to make many big life decisions at that age. I meet many 16 and 17 year olds in East Dunbartonshire, and they are thoughtful, responsible people who are perfectly capable of making an informed decision about who they believe should govern the country”.
“It is unfortunate that young people in this country often feel that society has quite a negative attitude towards them, and that has to change. I believe the best way to ensure that young people are valued and their views are taken into account is to directly engage them in the process of running our communities. I trust young people to make responsible decisions for our future, which is why I am calling on the government to lower the voting age to 16.”
A spokesperson for the Votes at 16 Coalition, said: “40 years ago the UK recognised that society had changed and 18, 19 and 20 year olds should have the vote. When we lowered the voting age to 18 many other countries followed us and we were world leaders in democracy. As Votes at 16 becomes a reality in Europe and in British waters, we have the opportunity to play that role again by recognising that 16 year olds want the vote, and have the right and the capability to play their part as citizens in a stronger, healthier British democracy.”
Jo, supported by MPs from a range of political parties, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling on Parliament to lower the voting age to 16. The text of the EDM and the names of those signing up to it can be found here.