Labour MEPs call on Parliament to give franchise to 16-year-olds

14 July 2015

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP and Paul Brannen MEP, the two Labour MEPs for the North East of England have issued a strong call for 16-year-olds to be allowed to vote, especially in the UK’s referendum on EU membership which is due before for 2017.

Tomorrow (15th July 2015), Labour will submit an amendment to the House of Lords on lowering the voting age to 16 for local government elections, with a view to doing the same for the EU referendum.

Whilst just 45% of 18-24 year olds voted in the last UK General Election, statistics from the Scottish independence referendum have shown that the voter turnout for 16 and 17 year olds was noticeably higher.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said 

“In June this year I came down firmly on the side of allowing 16 year olds to vote in the referendum when questioned on the matter at a British Youth Council event in. Sixteen and seventeen year olds can get married, pay tax, join the army, be a company director and even change their name, but they cannot vote. 

“It beggars belief that you can pay into the tax system but cannot have a say in how that money is spent, and in the case of Europe, have no say on the country’s future position in the world.

Paul Brannen MEP said

“The issue of our membership of the EU is the biggest question facing Britain, and it will affect young people the most. They will have to live longest with the consequences of this decision, yet it is a decision that millions will have no say over. 

“Only by giving young people the vote can they influence the direction of country and take control of their own futures.”

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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