SIXTEEN-year-olds should be trusted to vote in the snap general election, Caroline Lucas has said.
The Brighton Pavilion MP has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to enact emergency legislation to allow 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the election on June 8.
The Green MP said the teenagers should be given a say on their future.
The call comes as MPs voted yesterday 522 to 13 to hold an election in June after the Prime Minister’s shock announcement yesterday.
The Government easily achieved its two-thirds majority needed to bring the election three years ahead of schedule under the Fixed Term Parliamentary Act.
Mrs May told the Commons it was time to “put our fate in the hands of the people and let the people decide” and said the election would be about “leadership and stability”.
She said: “I will be asking for the public’s support to continue to deliver my plan for a stronger Britain, to lead the country for the next five years and to give the certainty and stability that we need.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dismissed the PM’s argument that she needed a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was “extremely interesting” she had chosen to call an election as the Crown Prosecution Service is deciding whether to press charges against Tory MPs over their 2015 general election expenses.
Caroline Lucas and her Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley have written to the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats urging them to unite to stop the Tories “wrecking Britain”.
The pair called for a meeting of progressive party leaders to discuss ways to prevent an “extreme” Brexit led by the Conservatives, Ukip and the DUP.
Ms Lucas used the Early Parliamentary General Election debate yesterday to call on the Prime Minister to bring in legislation to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote on June 8.
The MP said evidence from the Scottish independence referendum, as well as research from Austria and Norway,showed that with family support, 16 and 17 year-olds had higher rates of turnout than 18 to 24 year-olds.
Her call was backed by the SNP’s Angus Robertson who said it was “unsustainable” that young people should be given the vote in some elections and referendums, but denied it in others.
Ms Lucas said: “Everything is at stake right now. Our relationship with Europe, our border policies, our position on the world stage – voters will be given the chance to decide what kind of nation we want to be.
“The election is especially important for young people as they will live with the decisions made on June 8 for their entire lives.
“Theresa May should give Britain’s 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds – the first generation to have received citizenship education – a say in what will very much be their future.
“The Government should urgently change the law to expand the electorate – using the remaining parliamentary time to truly hand people control.
“This should be a moment when we hand control to people and widen the scope of our democracy.
“Let’s trust young people with a vote in June – and let them have a real say about the future direction of their country.”