Thursday 16 March 2017 / 11:20 AM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Tory Government is not doing enough to ensure young people are on the electoral register – Cat Smith

Cat
Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs,
commenting on
today’s Electoral Registration Statistics, said:

“While
the increase in electoral registration numbers following the EU referendum is
welcome, this Tory Government is still not doing enough to ensure that young
people are on the register.

“That
is why the Lords voted in favour of a Labour motion to the Higher Education and
Research Bill, requiring universities to give students the option to register
to vote when they sign up at university.

“If
the Tories are serious about making every voice matter they need to keep this
sensible addition when the Bill comes back to the Commons.”

Ends


Notes to editors:

·      
The total number of UK parliamentary electors
increased by just over 1 million (2.3%) between December 2015 and December
2016, reflecting the high levels of public engagement with the EU referendum.
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration/bulletins/electoralstatisticsforuk/2016  

·       A study from the Electoral
Commission in 2014 found that young people were a particularly
under-represented group on the electoral register http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf

·       Before the Conservatives rushed
the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration, students were
automatically enrolled by their universities. However, the Electoral
Administration Act of 2013 did not provide for a suitable student registration
to be put in place when the old system of household registration was abolished.

·       On Monday 7th
March the House of Lords voted in favour of Baroness Royall’s amendment to the
Higher Education and Research Bill. The amendment was passed, defeating the
Government, by a majority of 200 to 189. The amendment would require
universities to offer students the opportunity to register to vote at the point
of enrolment or re-registration as a student at their university, a proposal
first made by Paul Blomfield MP in the Commons.