Together with Oldham Youth Council I have selected Votes at 16 as the subject of my Private Members Bill.
The Second Reading of the Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill took place on the 3rd November 2017.
The Bill was supported by MPs from most of the political parties represented in Westminster; Jeremy Corbyn (L), Tom Watson (L), Vicky Foxcroft (L), Peter Kyle (L), Diana Johnson (L), Lucy Powell (L), Peter Bottomley (C), Stephen Gethins (SNP), Jo Swinson (LD), Jonathan Edwards (PC), Caroline Lucas (Green).
There is a limit to 11 supporters which can be named on a Bill and many other MPs have expressed their support for the campaign.
Each parliamentary session 20 MPs are selected in a ballot to proposed new laws.
How was the Bill selected?
Many are lobbied by a wide range of special interest groups, campaigns and constituents who want to see a change to the law.
There are strict rules about what a Private Members Bill can and can not do and say, including committing government to spend money or in raising new taxes. It can be a powerful way of highlighting an important issue and with the right campaign could become law.
You can read more about Private Members Bills here
As part of the process the Oldham Youth Council and I went through the list of 20 shortlisted lobbies and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each.
After an involved discussion the group collectively decided that they wanted to champion Votes at 16 – as the marchers from Oldham demanded ‘No taxation without representation’ they were keen to see the law expanded to include 16 and 17 year olds.
As with a similar Bill last year promoted by Vicky Foxcroft MP the Bill will include an expansion of the franchise for 16 and 17 year olds together with a requirement on Returning Officers to ensure reasonable steps are taken to register new voters. In addition schools will be required to provide education on democracy and citizenship.
What happened on the day?
The Second Reading of the Bill was held on 3rd November, but as is common with Private Members Bill was not granted sufficient time to fully debate the Bill to then allow a vote to take place. It therefore remains a ‘live’ Bill until the end of the Parliamentary Session.
You can see the debate here
You can read more about the campaign here
Show your support on Twitter using the hashtag #Votesat16