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UK's Cameron defeated over votes for teens in EU referendum

19 november 2015, 13:42

Britain's government came under pressure Wednesday to let 16 and 17 year-olds have the vote in a referendum on European Union membership after suffering a defeat in parliament, AFP reports.

The House of Lords voted in favour of the amendment to a law currently being debated which governs how the referendum, to be held by the end of 2017, will be conducted.

The government must now decide whether to try and get the decision reversed in the House of Commons, or whether to agree to let 16 and 17 year olds have the vote as well as over 18s.

Some senior Conservatives currently expect the referendum will take place in September next year but a lengthy parliamentary battle over voting age could delay that.

The scale of the defeat in the unelected upper chamber -- by 293 votes to 211 -- was larger than expected.

If the change is adopted, it would bring the EU vote into line with last year's referendum on Scottish independence, when 16 and 17-year-olds were allowed to take part.

Prime Minister David Cameron wants to stay in the EU if he can secure reforms including curbing the state benefits which EU migrants can claim in Britain.

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