POLITICS

Isis Brainwashing Shows Dangers Of Giving Teenagers The Vote, Says Peer

16/07/2015 10:29 BST | Updated 16/07/2015 12:59 BST

Young people should be denied the vote because Isis recruitment of British teenagers shows them to be too easily manipulated, a member of the House of Lords has said.

Lord Listowel, a 51-year-old cross-bench hereditary peer, said he worried people under the age of 18 were also not emotionally stable enough to handle the responsibility of elections.

Yesterday the prospect of 16 and 17 year olds being given the vote in local council elections and the upcoming EU referendum moved closer after Labour and Lib Dem peers joined forces to push through a vote. The change is opposed by David Cameron and the Conservative Party.

Speaking in the Lords yesterday, Listowel said the "huge physical changes take place in adolescence" as well as the "huge sexual changes" worried him.

He also said there were "issues around aggression and how young people manage aggression manifest themselves" in 16 and 17 year olds.

"These young people are going through a very interesting time, and of course they are rather suggestible, particularly with the use of the internet now. It is easy to access them, so politicians who wish to and are unscrupulous can quite easily manipulate these young people," he said.

"We have seen the ease of manipulating such young people through the process of grooming young people for sexual exploitation and by Islamic State.

"These young people may manifest themselves as quite intellectual at times, but they change very suddenly to a different point of view. They are not very stable because of their growing period.

"One week they will be studious, perhaps—thoughtful, intellectual—and then the next week can go to the other extreme, to the opposite sort of behaviour. They of course also very much reject their parents as they go through adolescence and often take extremely opposite views from those of their parents.

Listowel added: "It really seems unfair to ask so much of young people when they are going through all these changes."

He said while it was "utterly laudable" to seek to give a greater voice to young people but that expanding the franchise was not the best way to do it.

Last month Labour MP Barry Sheerman unexpectedly argued that giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote would make young people "more vulnerable to sexual predation than happens at the moment".