Peer backs voting age change

An Essex peer has joined calls for the voting age to be cut from 18 to 16 to give young people a bigger voice in the democratic process.

During a debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon said she had changed her mind on the issue after speaking to young people.

The former Labour cabinet minister said: "It's really a nonsense that young people of 16 can go out to work, pay taxes, join the armed forces, have children, but they can't have a stake in their own future when it comes to choosing an MP, their government or their local council."

Too often councils and parliaments were "full of old people like us," when young people needed to be more fully engaged in the democratic process and decision-making, she said.