David Cameron set for showdown in Lords over 16 and 17-year-olds’ vote in EU referendum


David Cameron is heading for a fresh showdown with the House of Lords after MPs overturned a vote by peers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to take part in his promised referendum on European Union membership.

Downing Street urged peers to drop their support for lowering the voting age, but opposition parties in the Lords have insisted they would press ahead with their attempt to widen the franchise for the referendum.

The clash raised the prospect of a game of “parliamentary ping pong” next week over the contentious issue, further inflaming the constitutional row between ministers and the Lords over the powers of the Upper Chamber.

It was brought to a head in October when the Lords rejected George Osborne’s moves to cut spending on tax credits by £4.4bn, a key factor in the Chancellor’s decision to abandon the plan.

That defeat prompted Mr Cameron to order an urgent review of the powers of the House of Lords, where the Tories are heavily outnumbered by Labour and Lib Dem peers.

Source: David Cameron set for showdown in Lords after MPs block plan to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote in EU referendum | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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6 thoughts on “David Cameron set for showdown in Lords over 16 and 17-year-olds’ vote in EU referendum

  1. NMac

    Tories only support democracy if it gives them the result they want. If it doesn’t they do their best to undermine it.

  2. Joan Edington

    If MPs are happy to send 16 and 17 year olds into their trophy wars to die, while they sit at home gloating, then they should surely allow them to vote. Of course, most of them would not vote for the Tories.

  3. hayfords

    It is important to reaffirm the primacy of the Commons over the Lords. It becomes impossible to govern if the upper chamber can vote down legislation. The purposes of the upper chamber is as a revising chamber. If they block legislation then we could end up like the US where Obama has difficulty passing any legislation. The upper chamber is not elected and they are frustrating the will of a democratically elected government. How would you feel if the Lords were heavily right wing and voted down every Bill from a left wing government?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Please stop trying to pass government propaganda on this site.
      You know as well as I do that the House of Lords cannot vote down primary legislation. All it can do is pass amendments which must then go back to the Commons for consideration. Ultimately, the Commons have primacy. This is what has happened over votes for 16/17-year-olds.
      The Lords do have a veto over delegated legislation like the statutory instrument that the Conservative Government tried to use to push through changes to tax credits – but they only exercise that power on extremely rare occasions, because they believe it is absolutely necessary. In the case of the tax credits change, the Conservative Government was utterly wrong to try to force such an unfair cut on lower earners – especially when it is still enriching the most obscenely wealthy people in the UK, as you well know.
      Finally, there is the issue of financial or ‘money’ bills. The Conservative Government is considering preventing the Lords from reasserting their desire to allow 16 and 17-year-olds the vote on the EU referendum by retrospectively changing the legislation into a ‘money’ bill. This is an abuse of process in two ways. Firstly, it would be entirely inappropriate to present legislation as ‘money’ bills simply in order for the Conservative Government to have its way – as all legislation has a financial aspect, this could lead to every single bill being presented as a ‘money’ bill, and then democracy is undermined. Secondly, in this case, retrospectively changing the nature of the bill is outrageous – as was pointed out when the Tories did it previously.

  4. maxwell1957

    Has anyone considered the possibility that this is just another gambit by the Tories to make the upper chamber kow-tow to the will of the lower chamber? A sort of fifth-former’s attempt an Machiavellian machinations?

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