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EU Referendum

MPs deny vote to 16 year olds ahead of EU referendum

MPS have rejected a move to lower the voting age to 16 for the forthcoming in-or-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

Mr PenroseGETTY
Mr Penrose warned changing the franchise could lead to accusations of a ‘rigged’ vote


They overturned a recent decision by the House of Lords that would have given the franchise to hundreds of thousands of teenagers for the historic poll on the country’s European future promised by David Cameron.In the vote, MPs rejected a Lords amendment to the European Union Referendum Bill which would have lowered the voting age by 303 to 253, a majority of 50.

 The division came after Tory Cabinet Office Minister John Penrose warned that changing the franchise could lead to accusations that the referendum is being “rigged”.

Opinion polls have suggested that teenage voters are more likely to support the country remaining in the EU rather than leaving.

“It is something which should be considered for all elections, collectively and in the round,” he said.“Given the understandable sensitivity surrounding the EU referendum, making such a fundamental change to the franchise for this vote alone would inevitably and perhaps justifiably lead to accusations of trying to fix the franchise in favour of either the ‘remain’ or the ‘leave’ campaign.

“That is why we have chosen to stick with the tried and tested proven general election franchise.

David CameronGETTY

Mr Penrose said it would be wrong to change the GE franchise for a single poll

VoteGETTY

MPs rejected a Lords amendment to the European Union Referendum Bill

Given the understandable sensitivity surrounding the EU referendum, making such a fundamental change to the franchise for this vote alone would inevitably and perhaps justifiably lead to accusations of trying to fix the franchise in favour of either the ‘

Tory Cabinet Office Minister John Penrose

“If it is good enough for choosing the Government of this country, surely it is good enough for the referendum too, and we should not jiggle around with it for a one-off tactical advantage either way.”He added: “We currently have a patchwork of restrictions which apply to young people from the age of 16 all the way up to 21 – there is no clear point at which a person becomes an adult but it is 18 that society usually draws the line.

“Even at 18, there are things young people cannot do – they must wait until they are 21 to adopt a child, supervise a learner driver or to drive a bus.”

Labour’s shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden said the referendum – due to be held before the end of 2017 – will be a “once in a generation choice, perhaps a once in a lifetime choice” about the country’s future direction.

Calling for the voting age to be lowered, he said: “Our contention is very simple, it is that the young people of this country deserve a say in the decision which will chart our country’s future.”

Pat McFaddenGETTY

Pat McFadden said the referendum will be a ‘once in a generation choice’


Yesterday’s vote almost certainly means the Government has overcome the Lords on the issue of the referendum voting age.
Commons clerks decided the issue was a matter of “financial privilege” because of the £6 million cost of registering hundreds of thousands of new voters.Under a Parliamentary convention, peers rarely block financial measures agreed by the Commons.

Jayne Adye, of the anti-Brussels campaign group Get Britain Out, said: “The House of Commons has rightly rejected this cynical attempt by Europhile peers in the House of Lords to skew the referendum in their favour.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/625247/MPs-deny-vote-16-year-olds-EU-referendum-UK-European-union

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