Leaders Live: Miliband pledges to give vote to 16-year-olds

Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to lower the voting age to 16 if he is Prime Minister after next year's General Election.

Speaking at the Bite the Ballot's Leaders Live Q&A, he promised to introduce legislation in the first session of the next Parliament which would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in elections from May 2016.

Mr Miliband said: "That is part of our commitment to hearing the voice of young people.

"I think we need to hear the voice of young people more in our democracy.

"It's a sign of trust in young people".

Pressure to lower the voting age across the UK has become stronger after 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to take part in the Scottish independence referendum.

Electoral law is one area due to be devolved to the Scottish Government as part of an extended devolution deal and Mr Miliband urged the UK Government to grant the freedom for it to be changed north of the border in time for the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament.

There are also elections due to the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies and Labour said it would work with both to make the change.

Other elections in May 2016 include those for the London Mayor and Assembly and in many local authorities.

During the debate, hosted by ITV News and YouTube, Mr Miliband answered questions on jobs, education, health and immigration.

The Labour leader also said that he was not in favour of the decriminalisation of drugs and that:

He also restated his opposition to the proposed pay rise for MPs next year recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Jamal Edwards: Young people need to stop being easy targets for politicians

The Labour leader also acknowledged there was "real anxiety" about immigration that was "not based on prejudice".

But he added:

When he appeared on Leaders Live Mr Farage was quizzed about a previous interview when he indicated it would make him anxious if a group of Romanian men moved next door.

Leaders Live is about making this generation of political leaders pay attention to young people and the issues they care about.

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