MP claims votes at 16 will make people ‘vulnerable to sexual predators’

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A Labour MP has claimed that lowering the voting age to 16 could lead to people being “more vulnerable to sexual predation”.

Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP for Huddesfield, interrupted, as his party’s shadow Europe Minister Pat McFadden argued in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 for the European Union referendum.

“What is missing out of this is the responsibility we have as parliamentarians to care for young people who are very vulnerable,” Mr Sheerman interjected.

“Up and down this country, we’ve had vulnerability to sexual predators and ghastly things happening right through to 18, up and down the country. And this move, to have adults at 16 will make a lot of young men and women more vulnerable to sexual predation than happens at the moment.”

Mr McFadden responded in disagreement, saying:  “I have a huge mutual respect for my Honourable Friend, but I do not see the connection between extending voting rights to people at 16 and making them more vulnerable to sexual predators.”

The voting age was reduced to 16 for the Scottish independence referendum last year.

The SNP supports extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds.