STUDENTS and young people across the district are being urged to register to vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.
The vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union takes place on June 23 and Ben Wesson has been visiting youth centres and attending student debates to stress to encourage over 18s to get on the electoral register in order to have their say on whether Britain stays or leaves.
Ben, who is Vice President of the Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs, said: “It is clear to me that young people could hold the balance over whether Britain stays in the European Union or breaks away for good.
“The referendum will have a profound impact on young people so it’s vital their voices are heard in the debate, and they ensure they are on the electoral register so they can get out and vote on June 23.
“You won’t be able to have a say if you aren’t registered to vote, so if you’re not already on the electoral roll you need to register by Tuesday June 7. You can do so, online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”
Ben hit out at the Government’s decision not to allow 16 and 17-year-olds a vote in the referendum.
He told The Observer: “I was extremely disappointed that the Government denied 16 and 17-year-olds a vote in this referendum. We saw 16 and 17-year-olds turning out in their thousands when they were enfranchised in the Scottish referendum last year.
“I’ve met young people at several local youth facilities, most recently Lillington Youth Centre and the 16 and 17-year-olds I spoke with were passionate, mature and wanted to take part in a discussion about the future of their country. We should be encouraging young people to make their voices heard, not silencing them.
“This referendum really matters, and it’s young people that will have to deal with the aftermath of the decision on June 23. The repercussions of this momentous vote will be felt for many years. I’m urging young people to register to vote so that they don’t lose this important chance to have their say.”
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk for details on how to register to vote.