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Votes at 16

I have received an email from Faheem Anwar (DMYP for Slough) and Hamzah Ahmed (MYP for Slough) written on behalf of the Slough Youth Parliament about votes for 16 and 17 year olds in the upcoming referendum on the UKs membership of the European Union.

 

Dear Fiona,

My name is Faheem Anwar, a member of the Slough Youth Parliament and a representative for the UK Youth Parliament, representing Slough's views at a national level. Early day motion 31 regards allowing votes at 16 for the upcoming EU referendum. It will have a huge impact on young people's futures, as this referendum is materially different to a general election in that the outcome cannot easily change after 5 years, but the decision made will have an impact for many years to come. It was seen in the Scottish referendum that 16 and 17 year-olds responded strongly and responsibly to the debates over independence, and an estimated 75% of all youths in that age category turned out to vote. As youths ourselves, the Slough Youth Parliament recognizes that youths will respond in a similar, constructive manner if given the chance to vote in the UK. It is because of this that the Slough Youth Parliament urges you to support Early day motion 31, to enable the youths of today to look forward to a tomorrow where they have a voice.

 

Kind regards,

Faheem Anwar

DMYP for Slough

 

Hamzah Ahmed

MYP for Slough

 

Slough Youth Parliament

A voice for Slough's youth

 

I don’t usually publish the emails I receive on this website, just my responses, but this shows the commitment felt by young people in Slough on this issue. I have signed EDM 31 (the text of the Early Day Motion is below) because I agree with them; Labour promised extending the vote in our manifesto and it's something I'm committed to. Today parliament voted on an amendment that would have given 16 and 17 year olds the chance to vote in the referendum but it was voted down by the Conservatives. I will carry on pushing for this important change.

 

EDM 31:

That this House believes that the voting age for the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU should be 16; notes that many youth-led organisations such as the British Youth Council are campaigning for this on its own merits and as an investment in the future of our democracy; considers that the EU referendum is materially different to a general election and that different voter eligibility rules should apply because the outcome cannot simply be reversed at the next election, because it will have a huge impact on young people’s futures, because 16 and 17 year olds can already work, pay taxes, join the armed forces and start a family, and because, when given the vote in the referendum on Scottish independence, young people engaged strongly, intelligently and responsibly with the debate and an estimated 75 per cent of them turned out to vote; further believes that the only fair and inclusive approach to this historic, single issue and long-term decision is for 16 and 17 year olds to have a say; politely suggests that any hon. Members who do not think 16 and 17 year olds are either ready for such a responsibility or interested in the UK’s relationship with the EU should spend more time speaking to young people in their constituencies; and calls on the Government to legislate to allow 16 and 17 year olds a vote in the EU referendum.