In tonight’s Bournemouth University debate five prospective candidates discussed how to engage more people in politics.
Tuition fees, young voters and party politics were all said to impact political engagement, especially with students.
Labour prospective MP for Poole, Helen Rosser, spoke first about the influence of tuition fees on young voters. She pressed that young voters had been “lied to” and that there must be some sort of “accountability” for politicians who had broken their promises.
Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Bournemouth East, Jon Nicholas joked that he has a very good knowledge of how young people are engaging with politics because of the notorious Lib Dem tuition fees broken promise.
UKIP prospective MP for Poole, David Young supported waiving tuition fees for STEM subjects such as the sciences, technologies and mathematics.
Conservative prospective MP for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns emphasised that more people could be encouraged to engage with politics, simply through “having better policies” rather than the “miserable policies we have now”. Burns added: “Let’s get out there with a positive vision.”
The discussion quickly turned to focus on lowering the vote to 16 year olds. Green Party prospective MP for Bournemouth West, Elizabeth McManus said that children should be educated about politics from a young age and that the voting age should be lowered because “these people are voting for their future”.
The discussion became lively when members of the audience suggested that 16 year olds don’t understand politics or know what they want. Lib Dem’s Nicholas finished the debate by offering a compromise, by suggesting giving 17 year olds the vote.