Failure to give 16 and 17-year-olds a vote in the EU referendum will “neither be forgotten nor forgiven”, Alex Salmond has said.
The former Scotland first minister believes last year’s independence referendum was a demonstration of how engaged young people are with politics.
Claims that teenagers are disengaged with politics or incapable of understanding constitutional issues was blown apart by the great contribution by young people in Scotland during the campaignAlex Salmond
Current plans for the EU vote will follow the general election with only over-18s allowed to vote but Prime Minister David Cameron said this week that MPs will debate lowering the age during scrutiny of the European Union Referendum Bill, although the Conservatives are against it.
Mr Salmond was speaking to an audience of engaged young people at the 57th national sitting of Scottish Youth Parliament in Erskine today.
He said the varied age limits between general elections, Scottish elections and the independence and EU votes was leading to “hokey-cokey politics”.
“The case for votes for 16 and 17-year-olds has been demonstrated by the Scottish referendum - not as some academic exercise but on the joyful and practical experience of a generation of Scotland’s young people,” the SNP MP for Gordon said.
“Claims that teenagers are disengaged with politics or incapable of understanding constitutional issues was blown apart by the great contribution by young people in Scotland during the campaign.
“But despite this, Prime Minister Cameron wants to subject 16 and 17-year-olds to hokey-cokey politics - ‘in’ for the referendum, ‘out’ for the general election, ‘in’ for Scottish Parliament elections in 2016 and ‘out’ again for the EU referendum.
“It is a ludicrous situation and nothing better illustrates the total lack of imagination which typifies the Conservative Party at its worst and their headlong pursuit of self-interest.
“It encapsulates Tory arrogance and the insult to young people will neither be forgotten nor forgiven.”