Rishi Sunak accuses Keir Starmer of only wanting to lower voting age to 'entrench his power'

18 June 2024, 01:28

The PM accused Sir Keir of trying to "entrench his power" by lowering the voting age
The PM accused Sir Keir of trying to "entrench his power" by lowering the voting age. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Rishi Sunak has accused Keir Starmer of only wanting to lower the voting age to 16 to "entrench his power" for years.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Labour vowed to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in their manifesto, saying it was to "increase the engagement of young people in our vibrant democracy".

But the move was criticised by Rishi Sunak, who said Sir Keir Starmer is only willing to make such a change as it will be “electorally helpful to him”.

"What is striking about it is Keir Starmer doesn’t believe in the principle because he’s not saying anything else should change," Mr Sunak told the Daily Mail.

"It would be one thing if you believed that we just need to change the age that we generally consider people to become adults in this country (and) all the things that go along with that, all the rights and responsibilities."

Read more: Labour landslide could see Tories winning just 72 seats, poll finds, as Rishi Sunak's party faces 'electoral extinction'

Read more: Rishi Sunak says 'Hindu faith and duty' guide him as PM, and insists he is patriotic despite Nigel Farage's attacks

Politicians can respect voters by getting their priorities right

He continued: "If you had a principled position that all of that should change, that would be one thing. I would disagree with it, but at least it would be a principled argument.

"But that’s not his argument... he’s only wanting to change the voting age, nothing else. So then you have to ask, well why is it that one thing that you’re happy to change, and nothing else?

"I think that tells you he thinks that it is electorally helpful to him. We talked about the risks of Labour in power and what they would do. This is an example of it... just kind of entrenching his power.

"And I think that tells you a lot about him and the Labour Party."

Mr Sunak's comments come after a poll by More in Common found that the public thinks Labour only wants to make the change for its own electoral self-interest.

In Scotland and Wales, the voting age is already 16 for local and devolved elections.

LBC's Nick Ferrari will host phone-ins with Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer this Tuesday and Wednesday - listen live from 7am.

Mr Sunak also hit out at Sir Keir for sending a "dangerous" message to Vladimir Putin by not setting a deadline to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP.

"He and the Labour Party are not prioritising our country's security at a time that is undeniably the most dangerous and uncertain that our country has been in in decades. It deeply concerns me," he said.

Sir Keir has pitched Labour as the "party of national security", reaffirming his commitment to a "nuclear deterrent triple lock" as well as the increase to defence spending.

It comes in a bid to shift perceptions of Labour's defence stance following the party's time under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who was a long-standing critic of Nato and Trident.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The M25 motorway closures are to set to cause travel chaos

Motorway misery: M25, M4 and M1 closures set to disrupt drivers this week – find out if you’re affected

Giovanni Pernice is expecting to be cleared following a misconduct probe, it is understood.

Ex-Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice 'expects to be cleared' amid misconduct allegations

The Prince Albert memorial has been 'considered offensive'

Prince Albert Memorial branded 'offensive' as it reflects 'Victorian view of the world'

Lord Falconer has said 'the time has come' for assisted dying reform

'The time has come': Lord Falconer calls for 'significant' assisted dying reform ahead of his new bill being introduced

An independent review recommended teachers and nurses get 5.5% pay rises

'There's also a cost to no deal': Treasury minister hints at above-inflation pay rise for public sector workers

Yvette Cooper vows to crackdown on illegal immigration

Beauty salons and car washes to be targeted in illegal immigration blitz as Home Secretary redeploys Rwanda scheme staff

Sarah Justine Packwood, 54, and her husband, Brett Clibbery, 70.

Mystery as Brit woman and husband attempting to cross Atlantic found dead in lifeboat one month after going missing

Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves vows 'big bang' for pensions as government launches review in bid to boost investment and savings

Amanda Abbington has claimed Giovanni Pernice was 'cruel and abusive'.

Strictly's Amanda Abbington breaks silence over 'cruel' Giovanni Pernice - as first female pro under fire

Donald Trump spoke at a rally for the first time since he was shot in the ear

Donald Trump says he ‘took a bullet for democracy’ at first rally since assassination attempt

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Man charged with arson after bus set on fire in Leeds riots over children allegedly removed from local family

Craig Revel Horwood has said the recent allegations have come as a 'shock' to him

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood breaks silence after 'shock' of dancing show's abuse allegations

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's GoFundMe page hits £70k after teen's mum appeals for funeral donations

Holidaymakers have been left stranded during global IT outage

'We're not being given any information': Furious holidaymaker stranded in Rhodes tells of travel hell after IT outage