18-year-old challenger to McConnell should pave the way for younger voters

Jo Swinson speaking in the House of Commons

May’s Scottish Election will be the first under new laws allowing candidates aged 18 and over to stand

New laws allowing 18-year-old candidates to stand at election must be followed by a lowering of the voting age, according to Jo Swinson.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Jo asked Scotland Office Minister David Cairns:

“There is concern on all sides of the House about turnout among young people at elections. For the first time in Scotland in May, we will have 18-year-old candidates standing for election, including the Lib Dem challenger in the First Minister’s own constituency.

“I hope both the Minister and First Minister welcome the implementation of this new law, but when will the government take the next step and encourage more young people to play an active part in the political process, by introducing votes at 16?”

Commenting later, Jo said:

“It is entirely appropriate that the Liberal Democrats will be the first party to take advantage of the new laws allowing 18-year-old candidates, such as Stuart Douglas in Motherwell and Wishaw, to stand for election. We are the party that most understands and appeals to young people.

“However, our political system would benefit from not only younger candidates but also younger voters.

“The Electoral Commission has stated that citizenship education and rising political awareness among young people both add to the case for lowering the voting age. The move towards votes at 16 is gaining momentum, and this Government is on course to be left behind by young people.”

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