Tomorrow (2 May) the House will not be sitting, but people will be sitting in the House. The UK Youth Parliament will be holding a number of debates in the chamber (only the second time the chamber has been used for a non-parliamentary function), with 300 young people from all over the UK taking part.
They will be debating, among other issues, university tuition fees, representation of young people in the media, and votes at 16. The issue of votes at 16 is one that has variously been debated in both Houses. Some people argue that 16-year-olds are politically mature and that if they can get married, join the army and pay taxes they should be allowed to vote. They also argue that lowering the age may increase voter turnout. Opponents point out that 16-year-olds can only marry with parental consent, if in the army are not sent to the front-line, and that very few actually pay income tax. They also note that when the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1969, it did not have the effect of raising voter turnout.
One has to draw an arbitrary line somewhere, but where? 16? Or 18?