Peers back ‘votes at 16’ in council elections

John Swinney attends a debate on lowering the voting age - 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote in Scotland's independence referendum. Picture: TSPL

John Swinney attends a debate on lowering the voting age - 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote in Scotland's independence referendum. Picture: TSPL

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PEERS have backed a move to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in council elections in a major defeat for the Government in the House of Lords.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers took advantage of their majority over the Tories in the Lords to push through the cut in the voting age, which they also want to see for the EU referendum.

Peers voted by 221 to 154, majority 67, to back the amendment to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill.

Although the council voting age will not be lowered unless the move is also backed by MPs, the Lords defeat sets up a potential stand-off between the two Houses.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Lord Tyler, who introduced the amendment, said votes at 16 was “both rational and right”.

He said cutting the voting age for the independence referendum in Scotland had proved an overwhelming success and England and Wales should follow the Scottish example.

Opposition spokesman Lord Kennedy of Southwark said young people in Scotland had shown cutting the voting age was “the right thing to do”.

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