The SNP has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s unanimous passing of Stage One of the Reduction of Voting Age Bill, following the debate at the Scottish Parliament today.

The progress in Scotland is in stark comparison to Tory plans to exclude 16 and 17-year-olds and European Union nationals from voting in the EU membership referendum, which have been criticised.

Rob Gibson MSP said:

“I am delighted that MSPs from across party lines unanimously voted in favour of extending the right to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections to include 16 and 17-year-olds.

“One of last the greatest achievements of year’s independence referendum was to extend the franchise to young adults. Young people grasped the opportunity to become involved in the democratic process with both hands.

“David Cameron has a responsibility to ensure his referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union meets the same gold standard as Scotland’s referendum did. Young people are our future. It is their Scotland, their UK – and their Europe – so they must have their say.

“Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can pay taxes, get married and join the armed forces, so it is only right and fair that they should also be entitled to vote.”

Christina McKelvie MSP said:

“I am proud that EU nationals living in the Scotland have their say in Scottish Parliamentary and local elections – but it is an outrage that these same people living and working in Scotland will be excluded from the EU referendum.

“The lives of EU nationals and their families would be turned upside down if a vote for the UK to leave was the outcome of Mr Cameron’s referendum on EU membership.

“It is vital that this parliament – along with the opposition benches at Westminster led by strong team of SNP MPs – send a strong message to this Tory government that it cannot ride roughshod over our future.”