Teen Voting Could Be Extended

25 September 2014, 15:30

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister urging him to permit 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the next Holyrood election.

Ms Sturgeon, who is widely tipped to be Scotland's next first minister, has called for the immediate devolution of power over the voting franchise to Holyrood to enable the age group to vote in 2016.

Holyrood was given the power to extend the franchise for the Scottish independence referendum but this did not extend to any future election in Scotland.

Speaking at First Minister's Questions today, outgoing First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Over 90% of all 16 and 17-year-olds registered to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

"As I made clear in this chamber on Tuesday, their thoughtful and passionate engagement in this debate means that there is now an overwhelming, indeed unanswerable, case for giving 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in all future elections in Scotland, and indeed across the UK.

"I am glad that this case now has the support of all parties across this chamber.

"The Deputy First Minister yesterday wrote to the Prime Minister urging the UK Government to devolve full responsibility for elections to the Scottish Parliament as a matter of urgency, so that we can ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to take part in the 2016 election."

Ms Sturgeon announced her intention to stand as the next leader of the Scottish National Party and Scottish first minister when Mr Salmond steps down ahead of the party conference in November.

She has pledged to engage constructively with the Smith Commission, which has been tasked with building a cross-party consensus on further devolution.

Announcing her leadership bid yesterday, Ms Sturgeon said: "An early statement of good faith would be a commitment to immediately pass control of its own elections to the Scottish Parliament - so that we can ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds, whose participation so enhanced our referendum, retain their right to vote in all subsequent elections."

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