Call for teenage MPs to halt falling voter turnout

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Indy Politics

The vote could be given to 16-year-olds to stop the decline in numbers of people turning out for elections, under proposals to be floated today.

The Electoral Commission will also propose cutting the minimum age for standing for Parliament in a consultation paper published today to address fears that young people are abandoning politics.

At present people have to be at least 18 to vote, and 21 to stand for Parliament.

The Commission, which advises on voting reform, said it was "increasingly concerned" by falling voter turnout after a Mori poll suggested only 39 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in the last general election in 2001.

Research published last year criticised the main political parties for having made "inadequate" attempts to get young people involved in politics, saying many young people were repelled by the cut and thrust of arguments between the parties.

Surveys have found young people to be cynical about politicians, but are anxious to have a say in the issues that affect them.

Glyn Mathias, the Electoral Commissioner said the Commission was starting the review with a "completely open mind" and wanted to hear from as many people as possible, particularly young people.