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Maidstone Borough Council to vote on petition to lower voting age to 16

By Caitlin Webb, local democracy reporter

A council is to vote on whether to petition the Government to lower the voting age to 16.

Following the example of the Scottish referendum, Maidstone Borough Council will determine whether young people should be able to vote.

It comes as a private members’ bill was launched in Parliament last July by Labour MP Jim McMahon.

Councillors will meet Maidstone Town Hall for the vote
Councillors will meet Maidstone Town Hall for the vote

The debate is set to continue in the House of Commons on May 11.

Ahead of the full council meeting tonight, Cllr Brian Clark (Lib Dem) wrote: “We believe that encouraging participation in the political process is a valuable means of engaging young people in modern society and note proposals in both the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament for a reduction of the voting age to 16, along with cross party support at Kent County Council.

“We recognise the important contribution of 16 and 17 year olds to the Scottish independence referendum and believe that the young people of Maidstone should also play a role in determining the future of their borough and country.”

County Councillor Brian Clark
County Councillor Brian Clark

In 2014, Kent County Council chairman Peter Homewood wrote to then Prime Minister David Cameron in support of lowering the voting age.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds in Wales and Scotland can vote in local elections while the voting age in England and Northern Ireland remains 18.

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