A pledge by the Scottish Secretary that 16 and 17 year olds will be given the right to vote at the next Scottish Parliamentary elections has been welcomed by a Moray politician.
The Labour candidate for the Moray seat at the forthcoming UK General Election, Councillor Sean Morton, was so impressed by the high debating standards shown by young people in the build up to last year’s independence referendum that he insisted they had earned the right to retain the vote.
His call was echoed by local and national politicians of all parties – and now the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, has said that work to ensure the transfer of power required to allow a change in the law in Scotland would be put in place before the general election in May.
There had been fears that there would not be time to put in place the so-called “Section 30” order before the dissolution of the current UK Parliament. However, Mr Carmichael said: “The section 30 order will be brought forward this month.
“It will go through parliament and be on the books by the dissolution of the House of Commons in March. The power will, at that point, have passed to the Scottish Parliament.”
Welcoming the move Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton said: “The sooner Scotland has the additional powers promised by the Smith commission the better.
“If we are to register 16 and 17 year olds for the 2016 election then we need those powers as soon as possible. I’m pleased the Scottish Secretary has made that a priority and I look forward to speaking to as many young voters as possible in the next 17 months.”