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16 and 17-year-olds should get the vote, Starmer says

25 May 2024 2 minute read
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) stands with Labour’s candidate for Stafford, Leigh Ingham. Jacob King/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer has said people old enough to work should be allowed to vote as he confirmed a Labour government would seek to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds.

In Wales young people aged 14 and 15 are now able to register to vote and 16 and 17 year olds can vote in Senedd elections and Local Government elections.

Young people’s new voting powers do not extend to UK general elections, as you still have to be 18 to vote in general elections.

The party leader said anyone paying tax should “have a say” in how their money is spent as he was questioned about the commitment on Saturday.

Asked by reporters on the campaign trail in Staffordshire whether Labour would lower the voting age, Sir Keir said: “Yes, I want to see both 16 and 17-year-olds. If you can work, if you can pay tax, if you can serve in your armed forces, then you ought to be able to vote.”

It comes after the Times reported a change to the voting age would likely appear in the King’s Speech if Labour wins on July 4, though there is no firm indication of how quickly the policy would be implemented.

“I would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t in the King’s Speech,” a source told the paper, describing the legislation needed as “extremely straightforward”.

Sir Keir continued his campaign on Saturday on familiar ground at Marston Road, the stadium of Stafford Rangers, where he repeated Labour’s message that it would offer “economic stability” amid a persistently high cost of living.

It is the second lower league football club visited by the die-hard Arsenal fan, who kicked off his pitch to voters at Gillingham FC earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak spent the morning meeting local veterans for breakfast in his North Yorkshire constituency, where he made light of the rain-soaked Downing Street announcement in which he called the July 4 election.

The Prime Minister joked: “I thought, ‘come rain or shine, it’s the right thing to do’.

“But no pneumonia yet, my suit on the other hand… I’m not quite sure what state it will be in when I get back down to London.”

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26 days ago

Doesn’t Starmer know that 16 year olds can join the forces but NOT in combat? A bit like Corbyn “getting down with the youth” ! With plans to increase student fees it will do little to encourage support for Labour wh
however they might try!!

26 days ago

With the conservative government now pushing to force the 16+ into services, it is right that they get a say in this. Give them the vote.

John Ellis
John Ellis
25 days ago

Seems fair enough to me, since 16-year-olds with no interest in, nor awareness of, national politics are unlikely to be motivated to vote at all; whereas those inspired to take an interest will doubtless be very motivated to do so.

I’ve come across not a few folk in their forties and fifties who also take no real interest and, in consequence, aren’t motivated to vote. What’s the difference?

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