Are we moving inevitably to votes at 16?

Stuart Wilks-Heeg

The negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments over the terms of the Scottish independence referendum have resulted in a deal widely trumpeted as allowing 16 year olds to vote when the ballot takes place, probably in Autumn 2014. Unsurprisingly, this move has re-awakened the wider debate about lowering the voting age, with some arguing that it almost inevitably paves the way for votes at 16 in all UK elections. Indeed, when the issue was debated on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Natascha Engel MP, an enthusiastic supporter of lowering the voting age, was effectively accused of supporting the proposal to vary the franchise for the Scottish independence referendum as a means of lowering the voting age by stealth.