Emma questions Clegg over votes at 16

October 15, 2013

131206 - ELB Autumn Statement smallThis Tuesday Emma asked the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to live up to his commitment to lower the voting age.

Speaking at Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions, Emma asked Mr Clegg:

“The Labour Leader, my Rt Hon. Friend the member for Doncaster North has stated his strong support for lowering the voting age and giving a voice to 16 and 17 year olds, whose futures are decided by many of the decisions we take in this House. The Deputy Prime Minister has said he supports this position, but in three years in his post no action has been taken to make it a reality.  When can Britain’s young people expect him to live up to his commitment?”

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the policy was not part of the Coalition agreement, having been opposed by the Conservative Party.

At Labour Party Conference last month the Labour Leader Ed Miliband announced his support for lowering the voting age, and giving 16 and 17 year olds a say in the decisions that affect their education and their future lives.

Commenting after Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions, Emma said: “The young people I speak to in Shields are well-informed and enthusiastic about getting involved in politics and changing their world for the better, and I agree with Ed Miliband that we need to include them in our political debate.

“I am disappointed that the Deputy Prime Minister has not tried to make this issue more of a priority. If he is unable to get this issue on the agenda while in Coalition, clearly a Labour government is the only hope our young people have of having their voices heard.”

Emma recently attended the Head Girl/Head Boy elections at Mortimer Community College in South Shields, where she gave advice to candidates and voters, as well as being on hand to congratulate the winners.

Emma said:

“It was very inspiring to see the enthusiasm students at Mortimer showed for these elections, and I wish the new Head Girl and Head Boy the very best in their role.

“Studies show that people who begin voting at a young age are likely to continue the habit, and teaching students about democracy in school is a great way to promote that.

“Lowering the voting age would be another great way of revitalising our democracy, which is why I was proud that Ed Miliband announced his support for this policy at Labour Party Conference.”

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