Luke Graham MP took the case for votes at 16 from Scotland to Parliament this week, following visits to students in schools across Ochil and South Perthshire.
Since being elected, his tour of the constituency’s schools has given Mr Graham an insight into the feeling amongst students on this issue; an issue he has championed since the successful extension of the franchise in 2014.
Local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Huw Sherrard MSYP, commented:
“The campaign for votes at 16 is one that many young people strongly support, and I’m glad that Luke Graham MP has joined his colleagues from across the benches in championing this cause.
As Mr Graham pointed out during the debate, the reasonable and sensible way 16 and 17 year olds have approached voting in Scotland should dispel any claims that the UK’s young people are somehow too immature or irresponsible for the right to vote.
The way we should decide enfranchisement should be on how much those people contribute to our community and country, and I’m overjoyed that the experience of Ochil and South Perthshire’s young people in volunteering, education, and employment has convinced Luke Graham MP to bring the voice of local young people to Westminster.”
During the debate on young people’s representation, Mr Graham argued that “This is not about party politics; it is about civic engagement. I support [this issue] because of the evidence provided by the participation of 16 and 17-year-olds in the Scottish referendum and the subsequent Holyrood and local elections. 16 and 17-year-olds came up with some of the most insightful and well-informed questions for our political leaders.”
Speaking after the debate, Luke Graham said:
“I am always impressed by the quality of questions and level of engagement whenever I meet students.
Since being elected I have been touring the schools in the constituency, and it is an issue which has come up time and again.
What is clear is that not only is it an issue these students are passionate about, but their level of engagement with the issues of today also shows that they are ready for it too’