We regularly meet lots of the young people in Reading. They’re passionate about such a wide range of issues – from the cost of local buses and their education, to climate change and international affairs.
The time has now come to give 16 and 17-year-olds a say on the issues that affect their lives.
We often hear people say they don’t understand politics. But this can’t be said of the younger generation, who are the first to receive a proper education in citizenship and democracy.
They understand what’s at stake. We’re teaching them how to be a full and active citizen but not letting them take part.
Most of us are quite happy to allow a 16 year old to serve us in a shop or to help protect us in the Army. We allow them to get married, have sex, pay taxes and drive cars.
Yet we are stopping them from having a say in how their taxes are spent or what direction our country goes in. Imagine how frustrated and angry you’d be if you were denied the same rights.
In the next two years we are going to the decision the Government makes on Brexit. This decision matters – it matters to our jobs and prosperity, and its impact will be felt for decades.
This proves young people can and will engage when given the opportunity. That’s why we’re pleased Liberal Democrat MPs voted to amend the bill on the EU referendum to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote.
Liberal Democrats have actively supported changing the law on this issue for over ten years. Now there is growing support throughout Parliament and the Conservative Government must listen to us and stop denying young people a voice.