General Election debate

28th October 2019

Iain Duncan Smith questions the SNP on their assertion that support for a General Election is conditional on 16-year-olds and EU citizens being eligible to vote given that there may not be enough time.

I would like the right hon. Gentleman to clarify something he said earlier. He talked up his link-up with the Liberal Democrats on wanting to have an election on a different date in December. He went on to say that that would be conditional on 16-year-olds and European Union citizens having ballot papers. I wish to ask him a simple question: if there is no time to do that, does he still back the idea of an election in early December?

I would simply say that it is the right thing to do; our young people have a right to have a say on their future, just as EU nationals do. That is the principled position that we have long taken, and I am proud that my colleagues in government in Scotland have made sure that when it comes to our Scottish election, our young people and our EU citizens are given their rights. We want to see this happen here, but I understand the circumstances we are in, where we need to make sure that an election happens on our terms. That is the priority. It is the priority to make sure that we legislate that in future our young people and our EU nationals are given due respect, but the priority we face in the short term is to make sure that we come together to stop this damaging Brexit that the Prime Minister wants to put through.

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