Reduction in voting age from 18 to 16 overwhelmingly back in House of Lords

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers joined forces to defeat the government

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A reduction in the voting age from 18 to 16 for council elections has been overwhelmingly backed in the House of Lords.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers joined forces to defeat the government, which opposed the extension of the franchise, by 221 to 154 votes.

The move will put pressure on the Government over its determination to exclude 16 and 17 year olds from the promised referendum on EU membership despite allowing them to vote last year on Scottish independence.

Labour’s leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, challenged ministers to accept the amendment.

 

“It is absolutely right that the voices of young people should be heard in our democratic process,” she said.

“David Cameron should also reflect on his opposition to young people voting in the EU referendum. At present, he is doing little more than sending a signal to 16 and 17 year olds that they have nothing to contribute to a debate of real historical significance that will have a profound effect on their futures.”

The vote was the fourth defeat for the government this week on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill.

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