Ed Miliband: ‘Young people led the fight for gay marriage and we should give the vote to 16-year-olds’

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Speaking at the Labour Party Conference today, Ed Miliband suggested that 16 and 17-year-olds should be given the vote because “gay and lesbian young people… won the fight and led the battle for equal marriage in Britain”.

The Labour leader spoke without notes at the conference in Brighton today, to say that “the voices of young people”, should be heard once again, in particular the young people who were involved in spearheading the campaign for equal marriage in England and Wales.

“To change our politics we’ve got to do more than that, we’ve got to hear the voices of people whose voices haven’t been heard in a young time. The voices of young people … the voices of gay and lesbian young people, who won the fight and led the battle for equal marriage in Britain,” he said.

“And the voices of young people, particularly women, who say in 2013 the battle for equality is not won. They’re not happy that 33% of Labour MPs are women, they want it to be 50%, and they are right.”

Ed Miliband first pledged his support for equal marriage in an article for PinkNews.co.uk during the Labour Party leadership campaign in 2010.

Mr Miliband in July praised the House of Lords for passing the same-sex marriage bill at Third Reading and has thanked PinkNews for its “fantastic campaigning” on equal marriage over the past several years.

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg last week celebrated equal marriage for England and Wales during his speech to close the Lib Dem annual party conference in Glasgow.