Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has criticised the Scottish Government for evading questioning on whether 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to stand as political candidates.
In response to a parliamentary question asking for the minimum candidacy age to be lowered to 16, the Scottish Government voiced support for involving young people in politics but refused to confirm whether or not they would support allowing 16 and 17 year olds to stand as candidates.
Alex Cole-Hamilton has lodged a motion calling for the age at which someone can stand as a candidate in elections to be lowered to 16 and a number of SNP backbenchers and three ministers have expressed support for the proposal, including:
- Gail Ross
- Tom Arthur
- Ivan McKee
- Ben Macpherson
- Colin Beattie
- Ash Denham
Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
“I’m convinced that young people can make a huge contribution to political life in Scotland if they’re given the opportunity. It’s a strange conflict that you can vote for other people’s political ideals at 16 but you can’t stand for your own.
“Many in the SNP recognise the potential of young people to make meaningful contributions on a whole range of issues. We ought to be encouraging anyone with new ideas to get involved and help make Scotland a better place. I’m surprised the Scottish Government is not eager to support this change, especially given the warm reception the proposal has received in the back benches.
“Scotland faces a lot of challenges, from climate change to demographics. Young people are one of our greatest strengths. Let’s tap into that and make them welcome in the political sphere. I implore the government to support plans to lower the candidacy age to 16.”