The former Welsh MEP who was once the youngest member of the European Parliament will this week lead a bid to ensure 16 year-olds can vote in the upcoming EU referendum. Labour peer Baroness Morgan argues this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to give people a say on their country’s future which could also help kick-start a lifelong habit of voting. Ms Morgan, who hopes to stand for Labour in the upcoming Assembly elections, argued people aged 16-plus were capable of making major decisions. She said: “They are already taking significant decisions that affect their own lives at 16… They are deciding which A-Levels to take, which vocational courses to take, and so if they’re responsible enough to do that then you think [they should] be responsible to take a decision for the broader society.
Ms Morgan, who became an MEP at the age of 27, said: “It’s pretty clear this is a once in a lifetime opportunity… [It’s] these people who will have to live with the consequences of the referendum decision and the relationship of their country not just to the EU but also with the rest of the world. “They are living in a globalised society and it’s absolutely right that they should understand and have a say in what that relationship will look like.”
She expects it would be “perfectly feasible” to register the new voters in time for the referendum, which must be held by the end of 2017, and will push for an extension of the franchise this week in the Lords.
She said: “We are hearing noises from various sources within Government and certainly a lot of backbench Tory MPs are advocating that this should be accepted… I think there is a real opportunity here.”