Prime Minister wrong on votes at 16, says Dickson

Alliance East Antrim Westminster candidate Stewart Dickson has said the Prime Minister is wrong to rule out lowering the voting age at General Elections to 16.

Mr Dickson was speaking after Theresa May said she believed it was “right” to keep the current minimum voting age of 18 for future General Elections. However, Mr Dickson said that attitude meant young people were being denied the right to participate in the democratic process.

“It has been a long-standing Alliance policy to reduce the voting age to 16, and we have previously supported calls for it in both Assembly and Westminster elections. It is a move which was especially successful in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, with many 16 and 17-year-olds voting.

“If young people at 16 are old enough to work, join the armed forces and pay taxes, then it is only right they have a say in who makes those key decisions and how taxes are spent. If you pay taxes, then you deserve representation.

“By reducing the voting age we can also encourage more young people to take an interest in politics and get involved in the democratic process whilst still in education. Giving a new generation of young people the opportunity to have their say can only be a benefit to our local politics. The Prime Minister is wrong to rule it out.

“We must show take the opportunity to show young people we regard them as equal citizens, respecting them and their opinions. Many of the decisions taken today will shape the rest of their lives, so it is vital they have a say in them.”

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