Friday 20-11-2015 - 09:43
NUS is backing a move by the House of Lords to include 16 and 17-year-olds in the EU referendum.
The current EU Referendum Bill would only extend the franchise to those who can vote in parliamentary elections, but an amendment was tabled to extend the right to 16 and 17-year-olds.
The Lords voted 293-211 in favour of the amendment, which must now also be approved by the House of Commons.
NUS has campaigned strongly for #votesat16 and supports this move towards empowering and engaging young people in our country’s democracy.
More than 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds are currently being denied the right to vote in the referendum even though the outcome will affect them more than any other group.
NUS President Megan Dunn said: “Young people will bear the consequences of the EU referendum vote so it is only right that they should be able to have their say. It’s very positive that peers have agreed with this common-sense case.
“Being able to vote in the EU referendum will inspire 16 and 17-year-olds to take a more active role in the political process. We want young people to be engaged with democracy, not excluded from it.
“The pressure is now on MPs to also recognise the right for young people to have their voice heard. Students across the country will be calling on their MPs to make sure they vote the right way when the bill returns to the House of Commons.”
Last year’s Scottish independence referendum was the first time ever that 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to vote in the UK, and the EU referendum represents another important step towards introducing #votesat16.
We are encouraging students and students’ unions to call on their MPs to approve this amendment and give 16 and 17-year-olds a say on their future.