Theresa May says no to votes at 16

Neil Puffett
Monday, May 15, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out lowering the voting age if her party wins the general election.

The move to rule out a change to the law comes despite the idea being backed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party.

May told BBC Radio 4 she believes it is "right" to maintain the current minimum age of 18 at UK-wide elections.

"This is one of those questions where you have to draw a line," she said.

"You have to pick a point at which you think it is right for the voting age to be. I continue to think it is right for it to be 18."

A spokesman for the British Youth Council said: "We are deeply disappointed in Theresa May's response. It is extremely regrettable that 16- and 17-year-olds continue to be excluded from elections.

"A precedent was set with the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, and yet eight elections later 16- and 17-year-olds across the UK still haven't been entrusted with the vote.

"We will continue to campaign for votes at 16, until 16- and 17-year-olds across the UK can vote in every election or referendum that takes place."

Liberal Democrat shadow foreign secretary Tom Brake said: "Theresa May is robbing young people of future opportunities through her damaging hard Brexit agenda, it's no surprise she is now refusing to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote.

"Young people have the largest stake in our future, they deserve a say over what happens next.

"The evidence is clear that voting at sixteen gets people into the habit of voting early and increases turnout in the long-term.

Labour's draft election manifesto sets out an intention to pursue the policy in government.

"We will reduce the voting age to 16," it states.

"At 16 you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote."

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