Labour Party adopts votes for 16-year-olds


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Indy Politics

A commitment to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 will be included in the next Labour manifesto, the shadow Justice Secretary signalled today.

Sadiq Khan argued the move would help to reinvigorate politics by involving teenagers at a younger age.

“The evidence we have is that if you vote the first time you are entitled to, you will carry on doing so through your life,” he said.

“There are more things that 16-17-year-olds can do - work, pay national insurance and tax, have sexual relationships, get married and enter civil partnerships and join the armed forces.”

The move follows last year's announcement that 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to take part in the Scottish independence referendum next year. It also gives Labour common cause with the Liberal Democrats, who have long supported the move.

Lowering the franchise age is opposed by the Conservatives, who say 18 is the age adopted by most western democracies.

Lord Adonis, a policy adviser to Mr Miliband, has floating the idea of setting up polling stations in secondary schools on general election days to encourage teenagers to “become citizens and to value democracy”.