Downing St slaps down David Lidington over telling Emily Thornberry to 'grow-up' in Commons clash

Posted On: 
31st January 2018

Downing St has swiftly distanced itself from David Lidington after he told Labour's Emily Thornberry to “grow-up” in a bad-tempered Commons exchange over lowering the voting age. 

David Lidington stood in for Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions today

The pair were standing in for their respective party leaders during Prime Minister’s Questions, as Theresa May is on a trip to China.

Making the case for lowering the voting age, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said there was “no logical principled objection to votes at 16”.

Theresa May's number two David Lidington hints UK could rejoin reformed EU in the future

Leader of the House David Lidington warns against 'fake news' denunciations

Emily Thornberry opens door to second Brexit referendum if public opinion changes

But Mr Lidington hit back arguing that young people get into current affairs more as they get older and listing other countries with the same rules as the UK.

The Cabinet Office minister said: “The situation we have here with the national voting age at 18 is one that is followed by 26 out of 27 of the other members of the EU, by the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

“Unless she's going to judge all those countries as somehow inadequate...then quite honestly she ought to grow up and treat this subject with a greater degree of seriousness."

Just minutes later the Prime Minister's spokesman said Mrs May herself "would not use that language". 

Mr Lidington's remark sparked an immediate backlash on Twitter with Labour’s Jess Philips branding it “sexist,” and former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman saying it was “patronising”.