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MPs and politicians criticise call to give youngsters the vote
CALLS to hand the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds have been panned in Worcestershire - with MPs and teenagers saying it should not go ahead.
Shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan says the change would be a “really good way of reinvigorating politics”.
He also says the fact those under 18 can get married, pay taxes and national insurance, drive and join the Armed Forces means keeping them away from voting is unfair.
But the idea has been heavily criticised by Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, as well as teens who represent Worcestershire Youth Cabinet.
Mr Luff said: “I am completely opposed to this as I think people with a proper economic stake in society should be the ones who vote.
“At 16 or even 17, your views are still being formed politically and to me, this looks like a gimmick.
“Turning 18 and being able to vote at that age is a right of passage, it’s something people died for and should be valued and treasured.
“We do need to involve young people in the political process more, but lowering the voting age would not do it.”
His stance has been backed by teenagers in the county, who say they are content to wait until they are 18.
Craig Bateman, 16, who lives in the Wyre Forest and sits on Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, said: “Young people have lots of views and opinions and that’s what our organisation is there for - so we can lobby politicians.
“The current age limit is fair and tested and I think many of us look forward to being 18 because we’re then able to vote.”
Fellow cabinet member Tom Hill, 18, from Bromsgrove, who is doing temporary office work via an agency, said: “If you give people the vote at 16, I think it’s a bad thing - they’ve got no life experience.
“Teachers are meant to be impartial, but often when it comes to politics they are not, and that could result in young people being influenced if they are not sure how to vote.
“There is even an argument to suggest it could be increased past 18, in my view.”
Other MPs in the county say they are prepared to hear more views from youngsters before parliament re-starts following the summer break.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I have never been lobbied by anyone in this age group to ask for the vote, but would welcome letters, e-mails or other contact from young people to listen to their opinion.”
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