Can Preston pioneer voting age changes?

The campaign to lower the voting age has been gathering momentum
The campaign to lower the voting age has been gathering momentum
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A Preston councillor hopes to spark a campaign for the voting age to be lowered to inspire young people to get involved in politics.

Coun John Swindells will submit his plans at next month’s meeting of the full city council.

The Labour representative’s plea includes a suggestion for Preston to be used as a pilot scheme with those aged 16 and over allowed to vote in the 2019 local elections.

His motion reads: “16 and 17-year-olds are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen.”

The campaign to lower the voting age has gathered momentum in recent years and 16 and 17-year-olds are able to vote in local elections in Scotland.

Coun Swindells, who represents University ward, will ask for the council to join the Votes at 16 Coalition.

He said: “Today’s young people will be the first generation to be worse off than their parents, struggle to get into the housing market, will work longer, pay ever increasing tuition fees and have to bear the ever increasing cost of the benefits enjoyed by the baby boomers and the generations that came after.

“I feel that the government should allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in all elections and I fully support the campaign to allow them to do so.”

The motion could receive support in the council chamber from the Liberal Democrats.

Coun Neil Darby said: ""I'm pleased to see Cllr Swindells getting on board with votes at 16. If more politicians put pragmatism before party, Preston would be a much fairer place to live."