Gavin Newlands, the Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has today welcomed the ‘historic’ vote in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to extend the right to vote in next year’s Holyrood elections to 16 and 17-year-olds – and looks forward to Scotland’s young people making their voices heard.
The Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill introduced by the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday and grants the right to vote to 16 and 17-year-olds in all Scottish Parliament and Scottish local government elections.
In light of the Scottish Parliament’s decision yesterday, the Renfrewshire MP is also reiterating his call for the UK Government to lift the ban on 16 and 17-year-olds voting in the EU Referendum to be lifted.
Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“Our Members of the Scottish Parliament, from across the political divide, united to make the historic decision to give our 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in all future Holyrood and local government. However, whilst Scotland leads the way, Westminster drags their heels.
“Votes at 16 has been a tale of two parliaments: the Scottish Parliament united to put our young people at the heart of our democracy by giving them the right to vote; the Westminster Parliament steadfastly refused to give 16 and 17-year-olds the franchise and, instead, opted to remain on the wrong side of history.
“Nevertheless, the decision by our parliament in Scotland to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote shows that we believe that these 120,000 young people – who can marry, work and join the army – are capable of exercising their civic duty, participate in our democracy and have their voice heard loud and clear.
“This is a seminal moment in the history of Scottish democracy. I, along with my progressive colleagues in the Westminster Parliament, will continue to lobby for 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland and across the UK to be allowed to vote in all elections and referenda.”