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Extending the Voting Franchise, Oral Question, 24/02/15 [S]

During Topical Question Time on 24 February 2015 Bruce Crawford (SNP) asked the Scottish Government what its position is on the comments in the recent House of Lords committee report regarding extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds for the 2016 Scottish election.

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, John Swinney replied, that the Scottish Government does not accept the views expressed in the House of Lords committee report. Both Parliaments have been asked to consider the transfer to the Scottish Parliament of the power to lower the voting age, as recommended by the Smith commission. Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 is a tailor-made process for doing that. That process has been used many times, including to enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate to hold the referendum on independence last year.

The Scottish Government’s proposal to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in Scottish Parliament and local authority elections will be the subject of a bill that will be scrutinised in detail by the Scottish Parliament. Many of the points in the report will be considered as part of that process and need not affect the consideration of the order.

For the full answer to this and any subsidiary questions see the Scottish Parliament Official Report 24 February 2015 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Official Report 24 February 2015