Agreement reached on terms for devolution of voting power for 16 and 17 year olds

The first minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has confirmed that agreement has been reached with the UK government on the terms of the transfer of powers to allow the Scottish parliament to give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in Scottish parliament elections.

Once the order has been passed, the Scottish government will bring forward legislation to the parliament which, subject to parliamentary agreement, will allow registration officers to complete their work to ensure 16 and 17 year olds are able to vote in the May 2016 Scottish election.

The deal comes after the first minister met with prime minister David Cameron in London last month, where she stressed the need for swift action to transfer the powers.

The first minister and secretary of state for Scotland Alistair Carmichael have now confirmed that the necessary powers will be transferred by March.

Welcoming the move, the Ms Sturgeon said: “It has long been this Government’s policy to reduce the voting age to 16.

“The Scottish government’s decision to extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in the referendum legislation is widely seen as an outstanding success and contributed to the unprecedented level of democratic engagement we witnessed.

“I am delighted that there is now cross-party support in the Scottish parliament for extending the franchise to include 16 and 17 year olds for Scottish Parliament and local government elections. I stressed the need for rapid action on this front when I met David Cameron in London before Christmas – and I am delighted we now have a deal.

“We now intend to bring forward legislation to the Scottish parliament as soon as possible after the Order is in force to lower the voting age to 16 for these elections.

“This deal, which is being delivered to a tight timetable, shows just what is possible when there is political will on both sides – and underlines the need for swift action on other elements of the Smith Commission proposals.”