Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Sturgeon 'confident' on teen votes

Scotland's new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is "very confident" the Westminster Government will honour a commitment to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the next elections to the Scottish Parliament.

Following her first meeting with David Cameron since she succeeded Alex Salmond, Ms Sturgeon said she believed they could work together on issues where they had "common ground".

"David Cameron and I are worlds apart in terms of political philosophy and outlook and our views on the constitution in Scotland, but yes, I think we can do business where we find common ground," she said.

She highlighted the proposal by the Smith Commission - set up to look at the issue of further devolution to Scotland in the wake of the independence referendum - to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds, who were given the vote in the referendum, in time for the next elections for the Holyrood Parliament in 2016.

She said the Prime Minister understood the need for the UK Government to act before next year's general election.

"We are very confident that we will get the devolutionary power to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in time for that to happen for the 2016 election. We need to move quickly on that," she said.

"I think there is an understanding and a willingness to work with us."

Ms Sturgeon held bilateral talks with Mr Cameron in Downing Street after attending a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, which brings together UK ministers and the leaders of the devolved administrations.

Following the meeting, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said that her election as First Minister provided an opportunity to "re-set" the relationship between Holyrood and Westminster following the confrontations under Mr Salmond.

"It takes two to re-set a relationship. I believe that Nicola Sturgeon will be much more constructive and co-operative to work with," he said.

A No 10 spokesman said: "The PM made clear that he wants to work with the First Minister, forging even stronger ties between our governments and our parliaments and working together on the big issues for the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom."


From Belfast Telegraph