July 13, 2024

Party officials gloat that the policy would help them “secure a second Labour term.”

The British Labour Party wants to force through a change to the electoral system that would make it more difficult for voters to remove them from office.

Sir Keir Starmer has long wanted to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-old children. In fact, when he was working to make his then-boss—and Labour leader—Jeremy Corbyn prime minister, he believed that such youths ought to have been able to vote to reverse Brexit.

Both then and now, opponents of handing the vote to under-18s said that Labour was (and is) simply gerrymandering—that is, rewriting electoral rules not because of what’s ‘right’ but because of what is most likely to keep Labour in power. After all, the party almost always performs even better than the Conservatives among children and young adults than it does among older adults.

This time, senior party figures under Starmer don’t even seem bothered about hiding their intentions. One source told The Times that the policy “has the double benefit of not costing very much to do but of helping secure a second Labour term.”

They’re so excited about handing themselves this extra electoral advantage—which could undermine former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s plan to make Reform UK Britain’s “voice of opposition” over the next six years—that they want to get the policy into the statute books in their first year in office.

One official told the Times they would be “extremely surprised” if the vote has not been extended (to roughly 1.5 million under-18s) by mid-2025.

Andrew Lawrence, a Conservative councillor in Kent, described the policy as the “pinnacle of the progressive project” which “would change the balance of power forever.”

Journalist and author Peter Hitchens added online that votes at 16 “will not be the only measure Labour take to ensure that they stay in office,” adding that “if Starmer wins in July, no non-Left Party will ever again hold a majority in Parliament.”

Devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales have already extended the vote to children, where 16 and 17 year-olds are able to cast ballots in local elections and to vote for the home nation assemblies.

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