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

Breaking
Will Bayley and Strictly partner Janette Manrara

Strictly star slams 'lack of duty of care' on the show as series left him with ‘horrific’ injury he’ll ‘never get over’

Donald Trump thinks Joe Biden never had Covid

Trump claims Biden 'never had COVID' and the president wanted to ‘get out’ ever since pair clashed at debate

King's Cross.

Great British Railways should be the start of a new era for our country’s transport network, which everyone can get behind

The woman cries out in pain as she's bitten by the horse

Tourist who posed for photo next to King's Guard horse gets bitten before collapsing to the ground in pain

Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 US Presidential race

Joe Biden's most embarrassing gaffes: Five of the president's worst moments

Nigel Farage described Joe Biden as "incompetent"

Nigel Farage says Joe Biden is ‘past his sell-by date’ and US election is all but ‘lost’

Mountain rescuers want hikers to make sure they stay within their ability level

Mountain rescuers issue warning to novice walkers after spate of panic attacks

The tragedy happened at Carton railway station in Sydney, Australia

Father and toddler killed after pram carrying twins hit by train after falling onto tracks

Live
Vice President Harris Holds Campaign Event In Maryland On Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Being Overturned

Follow live: Top Dems back Harris and donations surge after Biden quits race

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Boy, 15, shot dead during ‘family dun day’ at London park - as six arrested

The collision - involving two vehicles - happened on the A61 Barnsley Road between Staincross, Barnsley, and Newmillerdam, Wakefield

Six people - including two children - die after horror crash between car and motorbike

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses his VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris promises to do 'everything in her power' to defeat Donald Trump after Joe Biden drops out of race

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden

Jill Biden breaks silence with short emotional tribute to husband Joe after he drops out of Presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting  2024 US presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting 2024 US presidential race

President Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 Presidential Race and has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Nominee.

Kamala Harris says she is running for President in first statement since Joe Biden's shock withdrawal

Joe Biden (l) and Kamala Harris (r)

As Joe Biden steps aside who replaces him as the Democrat candidate to take on Trump and what happens now?