The EU Referendum - opportunity for votes at 16 and for EU citizens

Thursday 11-06-2015 - 11:50

Legislation is currently going through Parliament which will determine who will be able to have their say in an upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. This is a crucial opportunity to continue with our campaign for votes at 16.

Currently the ‘European Union (Referendum) Bill’ sets out that the rules for who can vote in the referendum will be the same as for the General Election – this will mean that 16 and 17 year olds as well as EU citizens who are living in the UK will be excluded.

The Bill had its ‘second reading’ this week – which was the first opportunity for MPs to debate the terms of the referendum. A number of MPs are already arguing for 16 and 17 year olds and EU Citizens to be able to vote.

The Bill will reach Committee Stage on Tuesday 16th June - when all MPs will come together to discuss any changes they want to make, including changes to who is able to vote.

Write to your MP and find out where they stand on this issue and ask them to speak in favour of votes at 16 and votes for EU citizens. It is very likely that MPs will be able to vote on whether 16 and 17 year olds should be able to vote – so make sure your MP is aware of the strength of feeling there is on this issue.

We’ve put together a briefing on the European Union (Referendum) Bill which gives some useful arguments to use when lobbying your MP. You can find contact details for your MP on the parliament website.  

It is really important that we move quickly to make sure that decision makers hear the overwhelming case for making sure that 16 and 17 year olds and EU citizens can have their say on this important vote. 

Have you met with your MP yet?

With Parliament now back in full swing, there will be other really important opportunities to start making your voice heard and influencing the agenda. So setting up a meeting with your MP early on will be really important. 

We have set up a draft letter which you can edit and send to your MPs through a simple online form. Some basic tips on things you should consider when influencing your MP can be found here and you can also get in touch with for extra support.

Students’ unions were an impressive force before the election, campaigning on a huge range of issues. Make sure your MPs continue to listen to you now they are elected and start influencing the agenda locally and nationally on issues that matter to students.



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