Imran has today thrown his support behind extending the right to vote to 16 year-olds as an important step in improving political participation amongst young people.
On Friday the 3rd November, the House of Commons held a debate on the enfranchisement of young people by extending the right to vote to 16-17 year olds, a move supported by Imran who sees it as an important step in increasing the involvement of young people in the political system
Imran has been a consistent supporter of increasing political awareness and participation amongst young people. He acknowledges that expanding the franchise to 16 year-olds is an important aspect of reaching that goal, as well as measures putting a greater emphasis on politics, citizenship and democracy in our education system, and a drive for the registration of young voters onto the electoral register.
Speaking in the debate, Imran claimed that there was not a lack of interest by young people in politics, but a historical lack of interest by politics in young people, with the younger generation long ignored by a political system that has pushed policies and decisions which has worked against their interests.
However due to Parliamentary procedure which sees debates on Fridays ended at 2:30pm regardless of the stage that they are at, the Bill was not voted upon and so will return to the House of Commons on Friday 1 December.
Speaking on the issue of votes for 16 year-olds, Imran said:
“It is of course extremely disappointing that the Bill was not voted on because of a lack of Parliamentary time, but the time for votes at 16 has come and I am proud to have been here today to support the extension as it presents a great opportunity to improve our democracy by allowing more of this countries citizens to have their say on how the country is run.
‘’I have long been committed to improving political participation amongst young people and hopefully, this vote will encourage greater youth participation in our society as a whole. We still need to improve the way that we educate and engage our younger generation with politics, but this debate has been a good way of highlighting this issue.
‘’Young people have been disproportionately hit by the Tory policies of austerity since 2010 and our political system has failed to recognise the abilities of the younger generation for far too long. As such, the Labour party is committed to extending the franchise, and it has been a part of our three previous manifestos to help build a democracy for the many, not the few.’’