Wanted: real participation for young people, not party politics
Following the announcement today that the Prime Minister is seeking to hold a general election on 8 June, Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:
“We believe 16 and 17 year olds deserve the right to actively participate in the democratic process.
“This is based on the recognition of their rights to be heard and to have a say in their own future, as identified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“As we have previously stated, the current disparity in voting rights between England and Scotland – which permits 16 and 17 year olds people in Scotland to vote in parliamentary elections but denies them this opportunity at UK elections and in referendums introduced by Westminster – is unfair and incompatible with a coherent approach to supporting young people’s right to participate.
“We recognise that the choice to press for a general election is about pure political calculation in the context of Brexit, and that progress made in Scotland to franchise young voters and advance young people’s participation is irrelevant to Theresa May’s decision.
“But through the coming campaign and following the poll, we will work to raise the profile of the principles of young people’s participation and the quality of Scotland’s continued work relating to policy and legislation in this area.”
“Barring 16 and 17 year olds from actively participating in elections that will directly impact their future simply sends the message that their opinions don’t matter, and that young people’s views can be disregarded by Westminster.
“We believe that any ‘unity' Theresa May aspires to must have young people’s voices at its heart.”
In 2015, the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote. However, this only applies in Scotland and to Scottish elections and referendums.