Turning 16 feels like a huge milestone to all teenagers. It is the age when they can work full-time if they want, pay taxes, consent to medical treatment, get married, enter a civil partnership or even join the armed forces.
But one thing 16-year olds can’t do is vote.
In last year’s referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country, 16 and 17- year-olds in Scotland were given the right to vote for the first time. Three quarters of them did, with almost all saying that they would vote again in future elections and referendums.
This shows that when 16 and 17-year-olds are given the opportunity to engage and speak up they use it.
Before the end of 2017, there will be another referendum on whether the UK should remain a part of the European Union or not. This is a key decision that will have a huge impact on the future of nearly 3,000 16 and 17-year-olds in Bassetlaw and millions of other young people throughout the country. They should be able to vote in that referendum. That’s why Liberal Democrat MPs voted in Parliament to lower the voting age to 16 for this referendum last week. Despite 265 MPs voting for it, the Government were able to defeat the attempt to lower the voting age.
But the fight isn’t over yet. There will be more opportunities to change the voting age in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and we’ll keep fighting to make it happen.
Showing the Government that 16 and 17-year-olds care about the future of our country and want to have a say is crucial to keep up the pressure for this change and tell the Government that they should the right to vote on our country’s future.
Bassetlaw & Sherwood