All Party Parliamentary Group on Votes at 16

THE CAMPAIGN for Votes at 16 continues with the setting up of an ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’ bringing together MP and Peers from Parliament.

It is chaired by our youngest MP Danielle Rowley and supported by the British Youth Council.

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On the 11th May Pete Kyle MP will present his Private Members Bill and my own will be listed for the same day although I don’t currently expect a debate on it. Hopefully Pete Kyles Bill will get a fair hearing.

The Tories are moving slightly on expanding the voting franchise with former Conservative Secretaries of State for Education Justine Greening and Nicky Morgan backing it alongside George Osborne.

This is not about the age of maturity, as is commonly misunderstood, but it’s about citizenship, full democratic and political education in schools and developing the voting habit as soon as possible.

An informed electorate challenging those in power is good for democracy but as our democracy has remained disconnected people are voting with their feet and opting to often stay at home.

It is also the case, though obviously not with all voters, that the role of Parliament, local councils and even the judiciary is not always understood.

Young people will only have a real voice if they have the power of the vote. They have been significantly hit by political decisions and will be the now poorer than the generation which went before them.

Voters from 16 already have the right to vote in Scotland and soon the same will be offered to young voters in Wales. If you believe in a genuinely United Kingdom then we must have a united democracy.

Extending the voting age isn’t the answer in itself but it can be an important part of it.

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