Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Labour Party to Give 16 and 17-Year-Olds the Right to Vote in the UK if Elected

The Labour Party will reportedly give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in one of its first acts if victorious in the general election, in an apparent attempt to cement their grip on power.

Labour sources have told The Times of London that should the party take control of Downing Street — as is widely predicted to happen at the July 4th election — a Sir Keir Starmer government would look to lower the voting age in England within its first year in office.

The move would add around 1.5 million teens to the voter rolls, marking the largest expansion of the electorate since the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 by the Labour government of Harold Wilson in 1969.

Confirming the planned change, Starmer told Sky News on Saturday: “If you can work, if you can pay tax, if you can serve in your armed forces, then you ought to be able to vote.”

With low-information young voters tending to favour left-wing parties, the move would likely increase the number of voters for Labour, with a recent YouGov survey finding that Labour holds a 57 per cent to 8 per cent advantage over the Conservative Party among 18 to 24-year-olds.

YouGov’s director of political analytics, Patrick English said: “We would generally expect that lowering the voting age would be electorally advantageous to Labour, as younger people are significantly more likely to back them over the Conservatives, or indeed any other party.

“However, we also know that young people are among the most unlikely voter groups to actually turn out. So, any advantage Labour have in terms of raw support among this potential new block of young voters will be significantly reduced at the ballot box by their low participation rates.”

Although the party has not formally committed to the policy change, a Labour source told The Times: “I would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t in the King’s Speech,” which lays out the agenda for the government.

“It has the double benefit of not costing very much to do but of helping secure a second Labour term,” the source admitted.

Labour MP and shadow minister for local government Florence Eshalomi supported the idea, saying: “Our elections are built on the basic principle that those who contribute to our country should have a say in how it is governed. Yet 16 and 17-year-olds are still blocked from voting in English elections.

“It’s time to turn the page on the eroding of our democracy and give the next generation a chance to help shape their future.”

The public as a whole is not supportive of the measure, however, with a YouGov survey finding that 37 per cent of Britons backed the idea of giving 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote, compared to 50 per cent who were against it.

Opposition to the plan rises with age, the survey found, with 60 per cent of 50-64 year olds opposing the idea, and 69 per cent of those 65-years-old and older against the idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ABOUT-FACE: Billionaire Blackstone Group CEO Changes His Tune, Throws His Weight Behind Trump

Sens. Durbin, Whitehouse Up Ante With John Roberts on Alito Flag Issue, There Should Be Only One Response