EU Referendum Bill: Peter Aldous calls for review of voting age

Responding to calls to lower the voting age to include 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the EU Referendum, Peter Aldous calls for Electoral Commission to be asked to review the voting age.
 
Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): My hon. Friend is making a persuasive and enlightened case. She is right: we should never be fearful of making fundamental changes to the franchise; but they should be properly and fully considered, and not rushed. Does she agree that the Electoral Commission should be asked to carry out a full review of the voting age? I think it last did so in 2003-04, when it said it wanted to return to the issue in the next five to seven years, and we are now 11 to 12 years on.
 
Dr Wollaston: I agree with my hon. Friend, but we can sometimes use excuses to delay important issues. The important thing is to look at the experience in Scotland and the way the vote was energised. Is anybody seriously arguing that 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland were incapable of taking in the information, weighing it in the balance and communicating their views? Is anybody seriously suggesting that there were harms to those young people from taking part? No, and I would say to those on our Benches that they should look at what has been written by Ruth Davidson for the Tory Reform Group. She makes a compelling case for Conservative Members to embrace that change and take this forward. We must do so for the referendum for the very reason that we are talking about the young people who will be most affected by the decision and living with it for the longest, but who will not, as in general elections, have an opportunity to change their view in five years’ time. This decision will last for decades.
 
 

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