East Devon has issued a call to start a national debate on lowering the voting age to 16.

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The district council is to write to the official representative body for local authorities on the matter.

The move follows a motion by Councillor Claire Wright who felt 16-year-olds are already treated as adults in many ways, including being able to ride a motorbike, get married and get a full-time job.

Members voted unanimously in support of her suggestion at a full district council meeting last Wednesday – though some gave misgivings.

Cllr Wright came up with the idea after she attended a ‘political speed dating’ event at The King’s School in which 200 students took part in October.

“I have spent a lot of time with students at King’s and I can tell you that they are dead keen to get involved in community activities, influence issues and represent their peers,” said Mrs Wright.

“What is the point of teaching citizenship and getting young people really interested in politics and local government issues, only to make them wait for two years, to actually be able to visit a polling station. I would argue that far more youngsters, not less, are likely to vote by lowering the age to 16.”

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