HC Deb 16 December 1982 vol 34 cc473-4
13. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy towards seeking a reduction in the age at which people can stand for election to the House.

Mr. Raison

We have no present plans for legislation on this matter.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is anomalous that people can vote at 18 but cannot stand for election to the House until they are 21? Does he agree that it is time that something was done about the recommendations of Mr. Speaker's Conference on the subject in the 1970–74 Parliament?

Mr. Raison

The recommendations of Mr. Speaker's Conference, and your conference, Mr. Speaker, are not always accepted. I am not aware of any great demand for change. I write to all my constituents when they reach the age of 18. No one ever writes back saying that he wishes to replace me.

Mr. Home Robertson

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be just as logical to disqualify men over 65 and women over 60 as it is to continue the disqualification of those between 18 and 21 from standing for election to the House?

Mr. Raison

I think that the passing of years confers some valuable wisdom.

Mr. Stokes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that my admiration for the youth of this country is unbounded? Nevertheless, does he agree that 21 is quite young enough for someone to enter this House? Will he please knock on the head the absurd notion of the right hon. Gentleman the leader of the Liberal Party that people should have a vote at the age of 16?

Mr. Raison

I hardly think that I am required to knock on the head the views of the leader of the Liberal Party. My hon. Friend's admiration for Britain's young people is unquestionably reciprocated.

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