A historic lowering of the voting age from 18 to 16 could be enacted before the next general election, a senior Conservative predicted today. Sir Peter Bottomley said there was “growing” support among Tory MPs for the reform, which is currently opposed by Theresa May’s Government. “It’s a question of when rather than whether it is going to happen,” the former minister told the Standard. Asked if there was enough backing for it to be made law in the current Parliament, the veteran MP said: “I think it would probably carry. Labour would vote in favour of it, so would every minority party and a growing number of Conservatives support it.”
A number of senior Tories recently made public calls for voting at 16 — a move urged by this newspaper in November. But Theresa May’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, ruled it out two weeks ago, implying 16 and 17-year-olds lacked the “maturity” to decide.
Former education secretary Nicky Morgan announced on the Conservative Home website that she is backing a Private Members’ Bill tabled by Labour MP Peter Kyle to fix a new voting age. She said today’s 18 and 19-year-olds, who were denied a vote in the 2016 EU referendum, were “furious that their futures have been decided by those aged over 70”.