Representation of the People Act 2020
Issue: Over the past few years there has been growing debate on lowering the voting age to sixteen years old in the United Kingdom.
Intervention and Implementation: The Secretary of State will lower the voting age to sixteen years old for the following elections:
United Kingdom General Elections
Local elections in England.
Over the last few years, including the lead up to local and general elections there have been more and more people demanding that 16 and 17 year olds can vote.
Today, the Liberal Democrats give parliament the chance to enshrine this into law.
We deem 16-year-olds adult enough to join the army, to have sex, get married, leave home and work full-time, yet there is a burning injustice that 16 and 17 year olds cannot vote.
Today is the day we change that.
Through the representation of the people act, the voting age will be lowered to the age of 16, which will apply to all United Kingdom General Elections, all local elections and all referenda.
I say this to every MP in parliament, under 100 years ago Emily Pankhurst moved heaven and earth to ensure women had the right to vote, from 1970 the voting age was
lowered from 21 to 18. In the last Scottish referendum, 16 year olds were allowed to vote for the very first time and only in that specific election.
Now I know that there may be those who are skeptical, particularly from the Conservative party of allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote. What I will say is the Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson, openly changed her position from being against to then allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote on reflection following the Scottish referendum. I ask all MPs, particularly those on Conservative benches, to reflect on the fact that society is changing, it is not fit for purpose that 16 and 17 year olds cannot vote when they are allowed to do other things, it’s nonsensical.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, will be the beginning of a real opportunity and a real chance for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to rightfully vote on their future, in future elections.
I beg this bill be read a second time