Jo has tabled a Parliamentary motion calling on the government to lower the voting age to 16.
Jo, who is currently the youngest MP in Parliament, has been campaigning since she was elected for the voting age to be lowered to 16. Tuesday 12th May 2009 marks 40 years since of the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, and Jo took the opportunity to call on Parliament to back a motion for it to be lowered again.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Young people aged 16 and 17 often have a lot of responsibilities, and are increasingly asked to make many big life decisions at that age. I meet many 16 and 17 year olds in East Dunbartonshire, and they are thoughtful, responsible people who are perfectly capable of making an informed decision about who they believe should govern the country.
“Sixteen year olds can take on full time jobs and pay taxes, so I believe it is only fair that they should have a say in how their taxes are spent.
“It is unfortunate that young people in this country often feel that society has quite a negative attitude towards them, and that has to change. I believe the best way to ensure that young people are valued and their views are taken into account is to directly engage them in the process of running our communities. I trust young people to make responsible decisions for our future, which is why I am calling on the government to lower the voting age to 16.”
The text of Jo’s Early Day Motion appears below:
VOTES AT 16
That this House commemorates the 40th anniversary on 12th May 2009 of the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18; notes that in the eyes of the law young people aged 16 can take on full time jobs, pay taxes and become sexually active; notes that a recent report by the Electoral Reform Society shows that polling of 16 and 17 year olds consistently shows that a majority want the voting age lowered to 16; urges the Government to lower the voting age to 16 to ensure young people’s rights reflect their responsibilities.