Stockport Council backs Lib Dem call for votes at 16

Stockport Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Bredbury Green and Romiley councillor Lisa Smart proposed a motion seeking to extend voting rights to those aged 16 and over, seconded by Will Dawson, Liberal Democrat councillor for Offerton.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Smart said: “I am thrilled to have championed a move by Stockport Council to back calls for the introduction of votes at 16. As a campaigner on education, it is an issue close to my heart having met so many engaged and inspiring young people.

“I am so pleased that councillors from across Stockport voted overwhelmingly in favour of my proposal to call for voting rights to be extended to citizens aged 16 and over, as well as greater involvement of young people in community decision making.”

Cllr Dawson said: “Working as a lecturer at Aquinas College, dealing with this age group is my day job so I know how interested and engaged in politics 16 and 17 year olds can be, especially right now as our country is going through what I believe will be the huge trauma of Brexit. Many of the arguments against allowing these young people to vote were used over a hundred years ago to try to deny votes for women.

“It must be right that the people who are likely to be among the most affected by contemporary political issues and for the longest time are allowed to fully participate in our democracy.”

Stockport Council will now write to the British Youth Council, local Members of Parliament, the Greater Manchester Mayor, the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Cabinet Office asking them to consider extending the voting age to 16 and 17 year olds, in particular for local government and devolved elections and for referenda in England and Northern Ireland.

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