A UKIP politician has said that the voting age for 16-18 year olds should not be lowered.
Paul Nuttall, the UKIP deputy leader, claimed that young people were being bombarded by “pro-EU propaganda lessons”, which affected their judgement, and said that youngsters were naive, and did not know who to vote for.
“It is perfectly obvious why Labour have committed to introducing this measure within a year of taking power – naive youngsters tend to have Utopian dreams of life and can be more gullible”, said Mr Nuttall. Mr Nuttall then went on to say that he was against lowering the voting age because young people “do not have enough life experience to make sound judgements”.
Mr Nuttall, a North West MEP, expressed his views, just days after Ed Miliband reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to lowering the voting age, at a Fabian society event held on Saturday. Miliband also said that he would make sure that the voting age was lowered as soon as possible, to allow youngsters to vote in the 2016 local elections.
UKIP is noted for the lack of enthusiasm among young people for the party. At the 2014 Local Council elections, Suzanne Evans, the former UKIP councillor for Merton who lost her seat, suggested that the party did poorly in London because the voters were “Too educated, cultured, and young.” A poll by channel 4 found that UKIP was doing much worse in the 18-24 year old demographic than the general electorate as a whole.
In response to Nuttall’s assertions that young people lack the necessary knowledge needed to make an informed decision, Mike Kane, the Labour Party MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, rejected Nuttal’s assertions.
“I am not sure what Mr Nuttall means about 16 year olds having no life experience. He himself is no horny handed son of toil. As I go around the constituency visiting schools, our youth groups and youth council I find young people who are engaged and interested in politics, organising clean ups and working to change the area in which they live for the better. Why shouldn’t they be entitled to vote?”