Let 16 year olds And Those With Residency Rights Vote, Says Assembly
08th November 2019

Let 16 year olds And Those With Residency Rights Vote, Says Assembly

Currently, British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 can vote in UK elections.  EU citizens are permitted to vote in local elections only.

The London Assembly on the 31st October, called on the Mayor to write to the Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, to urge her to consider lowering the voting age to 16 and allowing people with residency rights the opportunity to vote in all UK elections.

Léonie Cooper AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Since the Referendum, it has been almost impossible to go a day without hearing or witnessing a heated debate on the topics of democracy and the will of the people.

“In the midst of the protracted uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we must retain a keen focus on defending and enriching our democratic values which have been placed under unprecedented pressure and scrutiny.

“During the last Referendum, it was unacceptable that some of the most significant stakeholders in the Brexit decision, were excluded from the democratic process.

“In any future referendums on the UK’s membership of the EU, it is imperative that EU citizens living in the UK and those aged over 16, are given the right to vote. This is why we are urging the Mayor to lobby the Government to extend the franchise.”

The full text of the motion is:

“This Assembly supports extending voting rights to all those with residency rights in the UK and to lower the voting age to 16. Currently, British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are allowed to vote in general elections whereas other citizens, including EU citizens, are only allowed to vote in local elections. Each referendum has different rules on who can vote in it and in June 2016, EU citizens living in the UK were excluded from voting. This Assembly is concerned that in any potential future vote on EU membership, a million Londoners may not have a voice.

This Assembly calls on the Mayor to write to the Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, and to urge her to consider extending the franchise so that Londoners with residency rights, aged over 16, can vote in any future vote on EU membership.”