2nd May 2018
Rachael Maskell MP has joined over 30 MPs to take part in a drop-in photocall session at Parliament, showing support for the Private Member’s Bill launched by Peter Kyle MP to lower the voting age to 16.
Fair.Vote is a campaign which aims to equal the voting age across the UK to 16. Launched by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and National Union for Students (NUS), it looks to bring together individuals and organisations from across the UK and politicians of all parties who believe that democracy should be open and fair.
The Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 11th May 2018 and has received cross-party support from Nicky Morgan MP and Norman Lamb MP which shows that the political appetite for change is there. With Scotland already having a voting age of 16, and Wales potentially about to follow suit, it would be a profound shame for UK-wide elections and votes in England to be left lagging behind.
Dr Alison Birkinshaw, Principal of York College and President of the AoC comments: “We are pleased to see Rachael Maskell supporting the Fair Vote campaign. It’s very important to engage young people in the democratic process and to ensure they understand any decisions made now could impact on their communities and families over the next decades.”
Rachael Maskell MP says: “Young people are very engaged in the issues that are impacting on our community, nation and world, and as our democracy is about their future, as much as anyone else, it is absolutely right that they have a say in their future, and that starts at the ballot box. I was pleased to represent young people in York at the Fair.Vote campaign, and will be present in Parliament for the vote on 11th May for this crucial Bill.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the AoC agrees: “Lowering the voting age to 16- and 17-year-olds is something that should be welcomed by politicians from across the political spectrum given the rise in young people’s participation in politics. With young people’s turnout astonishingly rising in the last General Election, it’s time to think boldly about enhancing Britain’s democracy and the future of our country. In this country you can marry at 16, you can pay taxes at 16, so what’s stopping you from having the right to vote?”