Sam Poole on why 16-year-olds should not be excluded from EU vote

Sixteen-year-olds deserve the right to have an influence on major decisions that will affect them.

Tuesday, 19th April 2016, 7:15 am

But thanks to the law they are deprived of making their mark at the most important referendum of their lives.

The opportunity to vote to remain in or leave the European Union isn’t something that’ll come again soon.

So as members of the public come together to make a decision, those who are 16 will be left out. Yet again.

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I argue it isn’t too big an issue for 16-year-olds not to vote at a general election; they come every five years.

However, the subject of EU membership is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The outcome of the referendum will not just shape our economy for the next few years, but for decades to come.

Every decision made today will be influential in the decisions made in the future – whatever the result.

You could argue young people who are not yet classed as adults don’t understand the complexity of the campaign.

Nonetheless, I think they should still have the choice about whether to engage with the vote or not.

Besides, it is more or less unavoidable to understand elements of the subject; it has been dominating the media.

Previous campaigns, such as the Scottish referendum, have proved young people can sway the outcome.

It is important we allow young people to have a say on matters as big as this one. They may not have as much life experience compared to others, but that is no reason to exclude them.

The campaigning for both sides of the argument has been entertaining to say the least: politicians of the same party finding themselves split; journalists being interrupted during live broadcasts, and many terrifying messages to further confuse.

Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of it?

I guess the young and keen political enthusiasts will have to begrudgingly come to terms with not voting in such a huge campaign.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of it.

I think we should encourage young people around us to stand up and express their opinions about a momentous decision which will affect the future of this nation.

Young people spend too much time being kicked or told to be quiet.

Now is the time for them to have an influence on the overall outcome on a vast decision that will change Britain.