MPs’ bid to allow 16 and 17-year-olds and EU citizens vote in general election dashed

Posted On: 
29th October 2019

An attempt by MPs to give 16 and 17-year-olds and EU nationals the right to vote in the upcoming general election has been stopped in its tracks.

Plans to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, as well as EU nationals, have been thwarted

In a blow for campaigners, Deputy Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle rejected amendments which would have given Parliament a vote on extending the franchise.

The decision came after Downing Street warned it would pull its Early Parliamentary General Election Bill if the amendments were carried.

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The PM’s spokesman said: “I think it’s also important for me to point out that votes at 16 are administratively impossible to deliver in the time available.

"There will be less than three weeks before voter registration deadline to register 16 and 17-year-olds.”

 On giving EU citizens the vote, he said: “Changing the election franchise days before an election could cause administrative chaos.

"There would be between 2.4 million to three million people added to the electoral roll at the last minute, with no idea on the cost or logistical burden this could cause.

"This may in turn lead to delays with polling cards, postal votes and at polling stations that could undermine everyone’s ability to vote in the election.”

MPs will, however, get a vote on Jeremy Corbyn's bid to shift the date of the election from Mr Johnson's 12 December preference to 9 December. 

The Prime Minister has signalled the Government could back an election on 11 December but not earlier due to impracticality. 

The Commons voted down Mr Johnson’s third plea for a general election, which required the approval of two-thirds of MPs under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, on Monday night.

Tuesday night's vote, however, will need a simple majority of MPs, in a bid by the PM to make it easier to pass.