HC Deb 05 June 1980 vol 985 c1656
5. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has reached a decision about reducing the age at which people can stand for election to this House.

Mr. Brittan

No, Sir. As soon as we have, we shall inform the House.

Mr. Knox

Does not my hon. and learned Friend think that it is anomalous that people can vote at 18 but cannot stand for election to this House until they are 21? Does he realise that Mr. Speaker's Conference in the 1970–74 parliament recommended that the age at which people could stand for election should be reduced to 18? Is it not time that something was done about that?

Mr. Brittan

There is considerable force in what my hon. Friend said. Whether the political parties would wish to choose candidates aged between 18 and 21 is another matter; whether the electorate would wish to elect them is yet another. It is a little difficult to understand whether there should be a legal barrier to them however.

Mr. Michael Brown

Will my hon. Friend take it from me that there is considerable difficulty, at the age of 24, in persuading a selection committee that one has reached a suitable age for election? Is he further aware that there is not the pressure from the people of this country that Members of Parliament should be of a younger age than those who always represent certain constituencies?

Mr. Brittan

I have not found the pressure overwhelming, but the question whether there should be a legal barrier deserves serious consideration.

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