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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington


It's Time Young People Were Given The Vote - Brake

December 2, 2005 12:00 AM

Members of Parliament voted last week on whether a Bill should be introduced to reduce the voting age to 16. The vote was on a move by Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams MP to introduce a Private Members Bill. Tom Brake voted for the proposal, which was defeated by only eight votes.

There are now a large number of MP's who believe that lowering the voting age to 16 is a vital step to engaging young people in the political process. Many believe that if a person is old enough to leave school, work full time, pay taxes, leave home, join the armed forces and receive social security benefits, then they are capable of voting.

The debate is far from over, as this issue will be discussed again in the New Year when the house has the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the Electoral Administration Bill.

Tom Brake, said:

"It is time we recognised that 16 year olds are capable of making informed voting decisions. Many of the arguments that were used to oppose this Bill were reminiscent of those used to deny women and the working classes the vote.

If we are to engage young people in the political process then we must start listening to what they have to say."