The British Youth Council welcomes, Prime Minister, David Cameron’s commitment to a vote in the House of Commons on whether 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in all public elections. Mr Cameron said “In this house, I am very happy for us to have a vote.” The statement, which was made during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 7th January, follows calls from local councils and MPs from both sides of the commons for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds.
Ife Grillo, Vice Chair of the British Youth Council said in response to the announcement:
“On behalf of the Votes at 16 Coalition, we are extremely happy to hear that the Prime Minister is happy to to leave the issue of Votes at 16 to a vote in the commons. Since the Scottish Referendum, the votes at 16 campaign has been getting stronger and stronger and it is time people woke up and understood how important it is in making the democracy we love in this country, even stronger. MP’s across all the parties have been expressing strong support for the campaign and we hope the Prime Minister’s words are honoured”
Since 1998 the British Youth Council have been a strong supporter of votes at 16, and we’ve continued to see young people and politicians call for a new voting age ever since. In 2013, it was made evident once again that young people were still passionate about seeing the voting age lowered following the UK Youth Parliament’s ballot of 476,000 young people UK-wide which selected votes at 16 as the number one debate choice for the House of Commons that year. Following the debate our Youth Select Committee took written and oral evidence from politicians, academics and young people, before reporting positively in November 2014 on feasibility and implementation. A formal government response to the report will be published imminently.
Mita Desi, Chair of the British Youth Council also said:
“As an organisation that has been campaigning for votes at 16 since 1998 , I am so glad the common sense argument is finally prevailing. After Scotland had proven what we knew – that young people are active, intelligent and want their right to democracy there is literally NO logical argument against it.The only argument I have heard against votes at 16, are those that were used against women having the right to vote. Discrimination is discrimination”