The Electoral Commission has backed Conservative plans to block votes for 16 and 17 year olds in the European referendum, claiming the proposals put forward by Labour and the Liberal Democrats are not good enough. The powerful body has handed the Government a boost in the House of Lords ahead of a vote on Monday by publishing guidance stating some young voters could miss out if plans to extend the franchise were to go ahead. The opposition parties want to give young people the chance to vote on whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave, but Ministers are opposed to the plans.
The Lords will vote on the issue on Monday but Tory sources expect the Government will lose because of Labour and Lib Dem support, forcing MPs to debate the plans in the Commons later this week in a process known as ping pong.
A senior Conservative peer said: “The House of Commons have voted against extending the franchise five times in recent months, at the last count with a majority of 50.
“With even the Electoral Commission now slamming their shoddy amendment, it is time for the Labour and Lib Dem front benches to stop using their numbers in the Lords to pursue their manifestos and instead accept the settled view of the democratically elected Chamber.”