Ceredigion’s Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams has asked the Secretary of State for Wales to consider allowing votes for 16 and 17 year olds for the Assembly.

At today’s Wales Office questions in the House of Commons, Mark Williams questioned the Secretary of Wales about whether he would be willing to offer the Assembly the power to give votes to 16 and 17 year olds, following the engagement of many young people in Scotland following the independence referendum. Indeed in Scotland more than 80% of the 16 and 17 year olds registered to vote did so, and research from other parts of Europe indicates that interest and turnout amongst this age group is higher than the 18-24 age group.

Commenting following questions Mark Williams said;

‘The Assembly has spoken with one voice with the motion in the Assembly yesterday endorsed by all 4 parties, which among other things called for the Assembly to determine its own electoral arrangements. It would be bizarre indeed, now that the precedent has been set in Scotland, for 16 and 17 year olds not to be able to vote in future referendums in Wales - and if extension of the franchise is permitted for referenda, why should it not for all future elections.

‘Liberal Democrats believe in the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds, and the Scottish experience has shown this is positive. At the very least, our National Assembly should have the opportunity to determine its own electoral arrangements.