16 and 17 year olds must take part in EU Referendum.
In reaction to the publication of the EU Referendum Bill this morning the British Youth Council reminds the Government of its call for 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the “In Out” EU Referendum set to be taken in 2017.
The British Youth Council, which has been campaigning for the enfranchisement of 16 and 17 year olds since 1998 – have called for a meeting with the Prime Minister to put forward their case to be included in the EU referendum.
Ife Grillo, Vice Chair of Campaigns and Communications, British Youth Council said: “We at the British Youth Council – have written to the Prime Minister asking him and the Government to change their mind and allow us to vote – based on the Scottish precedent. We would like a meeting to put our case. This is not just about politicians calling for a widening of the franchise but it’s about a campaign we as young people have been running for years and gradually – one political party at a time – has come to agree with us. We would like him to answer us directly – and not make this a matter of political parties or yes no – but we want him to explain why and say what is needed to change his mind? Prime Minister — if you are listening – will you meet with us?”
In an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week, Mita Desai, Chair, British Youth Council called on the Government to follow the precedent set by the Scottish referendum and includes 16 and 17 year olds in the EU referendum ballot. She added: “We’ve been knocking on the door of democracy for decades – let us in and we will show we are just as able and willing as the young people in Scotland proved to be when faced with a similar historic, single issue and long term vote.”
The British Youth Council strongly believes that after decades of changes in our attitudes and vales resulting in amendments to the enfranchisement of more and more people, like women in 1918 and 18-24 year olds in 1969, that lowering the voting age is a late but necessary change in our voting system. Proof that the UK is ready for votes at 16 is mounting up, with the Youth Select Committee report released last year, ruling that now was the time to implement measures for all public elections and referendums. This coupled with the recommendations of the Electoral Commission, which after careful analysis of the Scottish Referendum outlines what should be considered in the event the franchise is amended to include 16 and 17 year olds means we have both the demand and expertise to repeat this again for the EU Referendum.