HC Deb 24 November 1960 vol 630 cc1288-9
12. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will initiate discussions between the political parties, and take stops to ascertain public opinion, including the opinion of young people, on the proposal that the franchise should be extended to all citizens at the age of 18 years.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am not at present convinced that there is a case for such action.

Mr. Driberg

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Report of the Commission presided over by Mr. Gerald Gardiner, set up by the Labour Party last year, and the perhaps rather surprisingly strong case for this reform made therein on historical and constitutional as well as on pragmatical grounds?

Mr. Butler

Oh, yes, Sir. I read all these documents with great interest. This one was certainly very well prepared and produced, but it has not altered my opinion.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the Home Secretary bear in mind that since at the age of 18 young people are liable—or were liable under the recent Acts—to military conscription, and are still liable, according to the law and to his own practice, to be executed for some breaches of the law, it might perhaps be equitable if they were given same share of responsibility in creating the laws to which they are liable?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, but I have not anything further to add to my original Answer.