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Giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote is an important step towards a fairer society

January 24, 2013 3:59 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Alistair Carmichael MP, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, today backed calls for 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland to be given the vote. Mr Carmichael was commenting after the House of Commons passed a motion calling for a change in the law to allow younger people to play a full part in the democratic process.

A commitment to extending the franchise to people aged 16 and over was included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto ahead of the 2010 UK general election.

Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:Alistair CarmichaelAlistair Carmichael

"Young people have an enormous amount to offer our society. At 16, you can get married, pay tax on your earnings or join the army. It's deeply unfair that young people of that age should not be allowed to vote. The Liberal Democrats are working hard to create a fairer society and giving 16 and 17 years olds the vote is an important step. This is a principle that extends well beyond the terms of one particular election or referendum.

"One way to ensure that young people feel valued and that their views are taken into account is to directly engage them in the process of running this country."

President of Liberal Youth Scotland, David Green, added:

"It is fantastic that this motion has been brought forward by Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams MP, leading the debate on extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. Liberal Youth Scotland is fully committed to campaigning to see our democracy strengthened by the addition of 16 and 17 year olds being able to vote.

"It is my hope that the motion presented today will kick start a debate about the issues which really affect young people, and create a legacy stretching far beyond the independence referendum in 2014."