Miliband vows to reduce voting age to 16 if Labour wins
“Too many young people are turning their backs on politics, which is bad for our country and bad for them too,” announced Ed Miliband.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has committed to reducing the voting age to 16 if the party is successful in next year’s general election. He claimed the policy reflects what Labour sees as the need to engage and involve more young people in politics.
He said: “It is not enough just to give young people the right to vote.” Schools and colleges would be expected to assist in increasing the interest young people have in politics, reversing a downward trend in engagement. Practical guidance relating to voting, such as instructions on how to register to vote, would also be provided to establishments throughout the country.
Labour claims that up to one million younger voters could be left out of the voting process if voter apathy is left unchanged.
Speaking at the Leaders Live event organised by voter-engagement group Bite the Ballot, Ed Miliband said the changes would come into effect as early as 2016. Ed Miliband’s comments directly echo those made at Labour’s 2013 party conference in Brighton, when he declared that extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds would make them “part of our democracy”.
Other elections taking place in 2016 include those for the appointment of a successor to Boris Johnson as mayor of London.
Whilst there has been approval from supporters of Labour, criticism has risen from Conservative party ranks, where the proposals have been labelled “student politics”. The Conservative Party chairman, Grant Shapps, accused Ed Miliband of attempting to “politicise the classroom”.