Votes at 16

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Votes at 16 Coalition
Formation 23 January 2003
Type Coalition

Votes at 16 is a campaign in the United Kingdom which argues in favour of the reduction of the voting age to 16 for all public elections.


The Votes at 16 Coalition is a national group of major UK youth organisations, political parties and other supporters of the Votes at 16 Cause.[1] The coalition is led by a steering group of active members who include the British Youth Council, the Children's Rights Alliance for England, The Co-operative Group, the National Union of Students and the Scottish Youth Parliament, who have all campaigned for Votes at 16 for a number of years. Trade union UNISON has also voted to support Votes at 16.[2]

Parliamentary activity[edit]

In 2008 members of the coalition met a few MPs ahead of the second reading of the Voting Age (Reduction) Bill in the UK Parliament, but the bill was talked down by Stewart Jackson, Conservative MP for Peterborough.[3] The Labour Party's Conference in 2008 voted to accept the hard won recommendation of Labour's National Policy Forum to support Votes at 16.[4] North Tyneside Labour Party passed a motion in March 2011 in support of lowering the voting age to 16.[citation needed]

The campaign is also supported by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and its youth wing the Young Scots for Independence (YSI). As the SNP is now in government in Scotland they have now officially called for the voting age to be lowered to 16 and lowered the voting age to 16 for the referendum on Scottish Independence.

The campaign espouses several principles in favour of lowering the voting age.[5]

UK Youth Parliament debate 2014[edit]

On 14 November 2014 the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) held a debate at the Houses of Parliament, led by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons. They UKYP debated on five issues that had been selected from over 875,000 young people age 11-18 in the UK.[6] One of the five topics selected was votes at 16.[7]


External links[edit]