I support lowering the voting age to 16 as I believe this will help energise and engage young people and ensure their voices are heard. I also believe that votes at 16 would strengthen our democracy and open it up to a new generation – as was quite clearly borne out in the Scottish Independence Referendum, where more than 100,000 16 and 17 year-olds registered to vote and 75% of those registered voted. On June 18th I made a speech in Parliament arguing for this change to be made.

More widely, I believe that extending the franchise should be accompanied by improved citizenship education and wider youth engagement. The previous Labour Government introduced citizenship education in all secondary schools in 2002 and I believe this is an important way to ensure that young people are engaged and informed in the political process.

February 2016

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