Youth vote in 2016

SIXTEEN and 17 year olds will be able to vote in the 2016 Scottish parliament elections.

A timetable for the necessary legislation has been agreed by both the UK and Scottish governments.

It will be brought before both parliaments on Tuesday before being put forward for Privy Council approval in March.

The change is the first to emerge from the Smith Commission’s cross party agreement on devolution, which was set up in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum.

Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael confirmed on Monday that the UK government would publish draft legislation on the Smith agreement later this week.

However the voting age change has been brought forward to allow the legislation to be in place for the 2016 election.

Sixteen and 17 year olds will not be allowed to vote at the Westminster election, in May this year.

Carmichael said: “I’ve always been a firm believer in votes at 16, with the sheer number of young people participating and voting in last year’s referendum I believe the case has become undeniable.

“Today marks the next phase in our commitment to people in Scotland and the start of an landmark week for the future of our country.

“Later this week we will publish draft legislation ahead of Burns Night meeting our promise to bring new powers built to last for the Scottish Parliament.”