House of Lords out of touch on youth voting says Carrick MSP

Local SNP MSP Adam Ingram has highlighted the democratic absurdity of the House of Lords after unelected peers argued in favour of putting roadblocks in the way of allowing 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote in Scotland.

A new report by the House of Lords Constitution Committee has argued that they should have a role in scrutinising the decision to devolve powers over the franchise to Scotland – and expressed concern that lowering the voting age in Scotland will “lead to pressure to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in other elections across the UK.”

The Scottish Government’s decision to extend the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds during the referendum was extremely successful – seeing around 90 per cent of 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland registering to vote.

Mr Ingram said: “The fact a Tory former Scottish Secretary and a group of unelected peers want to put roadblocks in the way of Scotland’s young adults being given the vote speaks volumes – it is utter hypocrisy and shows how out of touch Lord Lang and his House of Lords colleagues are.

“The involvement of 16 and 17 year-olds in the independence referendum was a huge success and contributed massively to the democratic engagement Scotland witnessed.

“These unelected peers believe that giving young adults the vote in Scotland will ‘lead to pressure’ for it to be extended to 16 and 17 year-olds in other parts of the UK – they are quite right, but that is something to be welcomed, not condemned.

“The bottom line is that Westminster must transfer the powers needed for younger people to vote in next year’s Scottish Parliament election – regardless of what the House of Lords thinks. The referendum showed it can be done, in a way that doesn’t create data protection issues, and Scotland’s 16 and 17 year-olds must be given the chance to vote at Holyrood in 2016.”