Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson backs votes for 16-year-olds

Sharon Hodgson
Sharon Hodgson

A Wearside MP is backing calls to lower the minimum voting age to 16.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has lent her support to a Private Members Bill which will reduce the voting age from 18.

The Bill – presented to Parliament by Jim McMahon MP - will have its Second Reading on Friday and will place a requirement on Returning Officers to ensure reasonable steps are taken to register new voters and a requirement on schools to provide education on democracy and citizenship to improve our democracy.

Reducing the voting age to 16 will give an extra 1.5 million people the right to to vote, including an estimated that 1,390 16 and 17 year olds in Washington and Sunderland West would be affected by this change.

The Bill has cross-party support and is backed by the Votes at 16 Coalition, a campaign group made up of more than 60 organisations including the British Youth Council, National Union of Students and the Electoral Reform Society.

"Through-out my time in Parliament, I have been a supporter of votes at 16, understanding that young people are concerned about the issues that affect them and want to have their voices heard on policies that will impact their lives and I always enjoy meeting young people to discuss democracy and the importance of voting," said Sharon Hodgson.

"It is time for the Government to recognise the importance of listening to the voices of young people and allow them to participate, contribute and engage in our democratic processes.

"The time has come for votes at 16 and I am glad to be supporting Jim McMahon’s Bill."