New data, commissioned by The People’s News, has revealed that lowering the voting age to 16 would have kept the Tories out of power. The Conservative Party would have won too few seats in the General Election in 2017 to have formed a confidence and supply deal with the DUP.
The analysis, done by Nigel Marriott, an independent statistician, showed that Labour would have been the main beneficiaries of lowering the voting age. They would have won 8 additional seats, while the Liberal Democrats would also have gained one more seat.
The Conservative Party would have won 307 seats, down 9 from the 318 they currently have, with Labour winning 271, up 8. Plaid Cymru would have lost 1 seat, and the Liberal Democrats would have gained 1, despite having their vote share reduced to 7.0%.
The seats that would have changed hands are as follows: Arfon, Calder Valley, Chipping Barnet, Hastings and Rye, Norwich North, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Pudsey, Richmond Park, Southampton Itchen, and Thurrock.
The loss of these seats would mean the Conservative Party would have been unable to form a government without one of the progressive parties. The Progressive Alliance would have won 323 seats, enough to pass bills when factoring in Sinn Fein’s policy of abstention and the speaker.
Whilst the Tories would have had more seats, they would have had the same percentage of the vote as Labour, as shown in the below graphic.
One high profile loss to the Tories would have been the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who would have lost her Hastings and Rye seat to Labour’s candidate Peter Chowney.
In November 2017, The Labour Party did propose a bill that would reduce the voting age to 16, but it was filibustered by the Conservative Party. It’s worth noting that 16 year olds can vote in some elections in both Wales and Scotland.
The method used to produce this analysis can be found here. The analysis makes the assumption that 16 year olds would vote in the same way as 18-24 year olds, and with a similar turnout.
It must be noted that the analysis excluded Scotland and the Northern Ireland, as data gathered on these regions was not sufficient to make accurate predictions.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty, Editor in Chief
Nigel’s analysis shows exactly why the Tories are so worried about 16 year old votes. It will significantly up Labour’s support amongst the voting electorate. Our youth deserve a say in their future, and this data reveals that their votes really can make a significant difference to the direction of our country.
It makes little sense that individuals who can get married, have children, and serve their country in our Armed Forces have to sit back and play no part in our democracy.
If anything, the analysis favours the Conservatives. In Nigel’s data, the turnout for 16 year olds is similar to that of 18-24 year olds. However, in Scotland, where 16 year olds are allowed to vote in Scottish Parliament elections, the turnout amongst 16-17 year olds is far higher, at 75%, than that of 18-24 year olds. If the data was changed to reflect the higher youth turnout, more seats would have turned red.
The analysis shows that the Tories have a significant problem attracting young voters. It also puts an end to the notion that in the proposed boundary changes to reduce the Commons to 600 seats, Labour would lose more seats than the Conservatives. The analysis shows that both the first-past-the-post system, and the current boundaries used, favour the Conservative Party, to the tune of 30 seats.
The difference this result would have made on the political situation we now face is immeasurable; a result like this would have most likely triggered another election. The Progressive Alliance would have struggled to form a government without a mandate, but this would have been an ideal result for those who still hope to remain with the EU.