Sixteen and seventeen year olds could help decide the outcome of next year’s City Hall elections after Labour leader Ed Miliband confirmed plans to lower the voting age.
The party’s manifesto, launched today by Mr Miliband, commits it to extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 years by next May, a move which would allow young Londoners to elect their Mayor and Assembly for the first time.
Although City Hall doesn’t run London’s schools or colleges, a number of the Mayor’s policies do affect younger Londoners who have so far been unable to help pick the city’s leader.
These include responsibility for creating apprenticeships, driving up workplace skills and setting fares.
Young Londoners also have a major interest in the Mayor policing strategy, including the Met’s work to tackle gang crime and its use of stop and search powers.
Plans to lower the voting age have previously been signalled by Sadiq Khan, Labour’s London spokesperson and a potential candidate in next year’s Mayoral election.
Last year Mr Khan spoke of the “inspiring” sight of 16 and 17 year old Scots taking part in September’s Independence referendum and said that “votes for 16 and 17 year olds is an idea whose time has come”.
The manifesto also confirms Labour’s plans to deliver more spending power to English cities and extend Freedom of Information laws to cover private firms delivering public services.