‘Politicians shut out young in pursuit of elderly’

Shadow secretary of state for justice Sadiq Khan. Picture: PA

Shadow secretary of state for justice Sadiq Khan. Picture: PA

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POLITICAL parties are going after the “silver vote” and ignoring young people, a senior Labour frontbencher has said.

Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, told the Independent older voters were being targeted by the major political parties because they were more likely to vote than 18 to 24 year olds.

He said: “If you speak candidly to a campaign manager of any of the mainstream parties they will say that they concentrate their energies disproportionately on those they know are going to vote.

“If you’ve got a candidate with an hour spare and a choice to go to an old people’s home or a sixth-form college, 99% of campaign managers will say you’ve got to go to an old people’s home. That’s because 94 per cent of them are on the register and 77 per cent of them will vote. That’s not true of the younger generation.

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“You look at any empirical analysis of this government’s policies and you can see they are going for the silver vote.”

According to figures in the British Election Study, turnout in the 2010 general election 51 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds cast a ballot, compared to around 75 per cent of over 65s.

Mr Khan, the MP for Tooting, called for the voting age to be lowered to 16, a longer polling period and online voting.

“We as politicians have to understand the responsibility on us to engage young people in politics. If someone is not voting that is a problem,” he added.

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