My SNP colleagues and I have a strong record of supporting the enfranchising of our young people. In the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the SNP Scottish Government lowered the voting age to 16, to enable 16 and 17 year olds to have their say. My SNP colleagues and I also fought hard to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the EU referendum, though we were ultimately defeated by the Tory UK Government. In Scotland, the SNP Scottish Government has permanently lowered the voting age for Scottish Parliament and local authority elections to 16.
I was therefore very pleased to support Caroline Lucas’ Bill, which would have reduced the voting age for Westminster elections. Regrettably, the UK Government opposed the Bill and it was defeated. I am particularly disappointed that Labour MPs were reportedly whipped to abstain from voting, although I note that seven Labour MPs voted against the Bill. I hope that there may be future opportunities to progress this issue in Parliament, and rest assured that my SNP colleagues and I will continue to support both a reduction in the voting age to 16, and proportional representation, for all elections.
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