Reducing voting age to 16 is ‘right thing to do’, says newly-elected Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, amid private bill talks

Lord Adonis supports lowering the voting age to 16
Lord Adonis supports lowering the voting age to 16
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LABOUR peer Lord Adonis says he plans to table a bill in a bid to get the voting age lowered to 16.

It follows the release of news statistics that show age divided the nation at the general election more than in any other vote since the 1970s.

Two local MPs have spoken to The News about their feelings on the bill.

Newly-elected Labour MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, is strongly in favour of the change.

He said: ‘Labour’s manifesto is committed to reducing the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. 16-year-olds deserve a vote.

‘If Lord Adonis wasn’t introducing this to Parliament then I would be doing so as I believe passionately it’s the right thing to do.

‘Young people are so engaged in civic life and the decisions which affect them today, this proposal has my full support.’

Likewise, Caroline Dinenage, Conservative MP for Gosport, said on the matter: ‘This is an interesting subject. It’s not something I have very strong feelings on personally.

‘Of course, they did lower the age for those voting in the Scottish independence referendum, so this is not without precedent.

‘On about six separate occasions I’ve been to sixth forms in my constituency during Parliament week and we’ve debated this very matter. These people are between the ages of 16 to 18.

‘And mostly, these young people have voted against it. I find that surprising but interesting.’

Labour peer Lord Adonis told Today that turnout was still lower among younger age groups than older people.

He said he will table a private members bill in Parliament to lower the voting age to 16.

Research by Ipsos Mori suggests Labour’s vote share was swelled by the under-44s, with the biggest swing among 25 to 34-year-olds.

This coincided with a swing to the Conservatives among the over-55s, resulting in the biggest age gap since Ipsos Mori’s records began in 1979.

The polling firm found that turnout among young people was up on the 2015 election, matching the EU referendum.

This swing in age groups came at the same time as a reversal in traditional voting patterns between different classes.

There was a swing among the middle classes to Labour, while working classes moved to the Conservatives, with both parties achieving record vote shares in these groups.

Kully Kaur-Ballagan, research director at Ipsos Mori, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We know that the Remain voters did go to Labour, and certainly the working class vote, we saw the collapse of Ukip and a lot of them did go to the Conservatives.

‘But I think what we also noticed throughout the campaign, there was some attraction to some of the policies of the Labour Party.

‘For example, we know education was the third biggest issue that people voted on, and that may have attracted some of the middle class voters.’

Education was another clear divide in voting patterns, according to Ipsos Mori.

The Conservatives had a large 17-point lead among those with no qualifications, and a smaller seven-point lead among those educated to below degree level.

Among graduates, though, Labour had a 15-point lead.

Ipsos Mori interviewed 7,505 UK adults between April 21 and June 7.

The News has approached four other local MPs for comment.