Another sensational U-turn from the Liberal Democrats. According to Left Foot Forward (LINK), the Lib Dems have sensationally voted down a Parliamentary amendment to lower the voting age to 16 for the referendum on the voting system, despite promising to give 16-year-olds the vote in their election manifesto.
It seems as though the Lib Dems are hell bent on savaging the rights and the services available for young people.
Before the election, Labour promised a free vote in Parliament on lowering the voting age to 16. The Lib Dems went further and said that they would lower the voting age. The Tories ignored the issue in their election manifesto.
The forthcoming referendum that is expected on changing the way elections are decided presents the best opportunity to lower the voting age. Why waste public resources by raising the issue again and following through a new and costly constitutional amendment process? Surely it would be easier to make these changes to our voting system from the outset.
Our Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has in the past supported lowering the voting age to 16. Her website says, “the Liberal Democrats are the only major political party to support the Votes at Sixteen campaign” and argued that “it would help demonstrate to young people that their opinions are valued and help reconnect with those who may otherwise may never vote. It still seems ludicrous to me that a person can work, get married and join the army in this country before they are allowed to vote” (Source: LINK).
Now in Government and presented with the opportunity to presented with the opportunity to change things for good, Sarah Teather’s options indicate that young people’s opinions are not valuable to her at all and that the Lib Dems have abandoned their pledge to connect and involve young people in the decisions like raising tuition fees, that will affect them.