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David Lidington stood in for Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions on January 31.

This is shameful, isn’t it?

If you didn’t hear the exchange between Emily Thornberry and David Lidington at PMQs, it included the following, from Ms Thornberry:

At 16, we are free from parental control, we can leave home, we can start a family, we can get married, we can start work, we can pay taxes and we can join the forces, so can he give us a logical explanation of why a 16-year-old should not have the right to vote?

To this, Mr Lidington replied thus:

it was the last Labour Government who raised the legal age for buying cigarettes to 18, raised the age for selling knives to 18, raised the age for buying fireworks to 18 and raised the age for using a sunbed to 18.

It’s a valid point – although there is an argument in that all the things for which Labour raised the legal age are potentially harmful, whereas voting is usually done in the interests of the person concerned and (it is to be hoped) the nation as a whole.

And now we learn that Mr Lidington was taking a completely false position, because the Conservative Party allows votes at 15 in its own internal elections.

Perhaps he thought it doesn’t matter so much, because the average age of his party members is 72.

David Lidington has been accused “hypocrisy” for suggesting 16-year-olds lack the “sufficient maturity” to vote in general elections, despite teenagers aged 15 and over apparently being allowed to vote in Tory leadership contests.

Under Conservative Party rules, 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to become full members of the party.

“There is no upper or lower age limit on membership, although children under the age of 15 cannot be enrolled as full voting members,” party guidelines state.

Members have rights including “one member, one vote in the election of the Leader of the Party” and “a vote in the selection of candidates for Westminster and Europe”.

It costs just £5 for anyone under the age of 22 to join while it costs £25 for anyone over the age of 23.

Source: Tory ‘Hypocrisy’ For Opposing Votes At 16 While Letting Teens Pick Party Leader

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