Keir Starmer to decrease voting age to 16 as anybody who works ought to ‘have a say’

Labour Leader Keir Starmer yesterday confirmed he would give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote, as the party set out plans to “make work pay” for the next generation.

He made the pledge as rival Rishi Sunak talked to veterans over a budget fry-up at a Wetherspoon. Mr Starmer said anyone old enough to work should be allowed to “have a say” in how their taxes are spent. Asked on the campaign trail in Staffordshire whether Labour would lower the voting age, Sir Keir said: “Yes, I want to see both 16 and 17-year-olds. If you can work, if you can pay tax, if you can serve in your armed forces, then you ought to be able to vote.”

He spoke as Deputy Leader Angela Rayner published the party’s package of workers rights, newly branded as “Labour’s plan to make work pay”. The deal includes a ban on zero-hour contracts and fire-and rehire tactics, stronger employment rights from day one of a new job and a “right to switch off”. Mr Starmer warned the chaos that dogged the opening days of Rishi Sunak’s campaign would continue if the Conservatives took power again on July 4.

He said: “Chaos is in the Tory bloodstream. It is how they have governed, how they campaign and with their latest unfunded promises, how they would continue if re-elected. And that Tory chaos is not just about politics. It costs people and the country a fortune through higher taxes, soaring mortgages and crippling energy bills. And people I speak to up and down the country want it to end. They want to stop the chaos, turn the page, and start to rebuild.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister enjoyed a moment of respite from his MPs quitting, after days of high-profile Tories throwing in the towel. The Conservatives were forced to deny claims Mr Sunak was hoping to have a “duvet day”, staying bunkered in his North Yorkshire bolthole. But while the teetotaller met local veterans in Northallerton Wetherspoon, his relatively light schedule allowed him to avoid more gaffes.

The PM said he was “pumped up” and enjoying himself two days into campaigning despite a string of blunders and announcing the election in a downpour. I thought, ‘come rain or shine, it’s the right thing to do’,” he told locals of his decision to make the speech without an umbrella. “But no pneumonia yet. My suit, on the other hand… I’m not quite sure what state it will be in when I get back down to London.”

Mr Sunak later returned to the capital, campaigning in Wimbledon before moving to Tory HQ in the afternoon – but sources said football fan Mr Sunak did not watch the FA Cup Final. Lib Dem leader Ed Davey welcomed Mr Starmer’s pledge to lower the voting age but said “bolder” reform is needed to fix the “broken” political system.

Speaking at a dog-walking event in Winchester, Hants, he said “the Liberal Democrats have long supported votes at 16” – adding that anyone who wanted to join the party’s policy ideas was “very, very welcome”.