Lib Dems launch bid to defeat Government over EU referendum votes at 16

Liberal Democrats are launching a cross party move to defeat the Government and give 16 year olds a vote in the upcoming EU referendum.

The Liberal Democrats are aiming to follow up the successful vote in the Lords when they defeated the Government to include votes at 16 for council elections in England.

Allowing 16 year olds to vote in the referendum has cross party support, and even has the backing of the ‘leave’ campaign, increasing the pressure on David Cameron.

Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of the charge and will lay an amendment to the EU Referendum Bill following Second Reading. The measure has already had wide cross party support in the Lords.

William Wallace, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords, said:

“The future of the UK is at stake and it is vital that 16 year olds get a say in that future.

“The Liberal Democrats have long battled for votes at 16, it is an age in which you take on a host of new adult responsibilities yet have no voice in the running of your own country.

“Regardless of the wider battle, on this occasion 16- and 17-year-olds must be allowed to vote. This is too important an issue, a decision that will alter our nation’s course, those that have the longest stake in the future of this country should not be denied a say."

Scottish Liberal Democrat peer and former Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace added:

“Liberal Democrats believe staying in the EU gives us the best chance of future peace, tackling climate change and keeping our economy strong. We shall be making an aspirational case for IN.

“As these issues are of crucial importance to Britain's young people, and their future, we will be arguing, as the Bill goes through the Lords, that there should be provision for 16 and 17-year-olds to have their say on their future. We hope we can gather support from other parties.

“Given the successful engagement of young new voters in last year's Scottish referendum, there is surely a compelling case for involving them in the next great decision on their future and ours.”

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