On 12th May 2016 Lord Kinnock asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to emphasise the importance to citizens, particularly young people, of registering to vote to enable them to participate in the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union on 23 June.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: In response to a previous debate, I worked with Bite The Ballot and got it into one of our church schools. The interesting thing for me was seeing not that people could not understand voting but that they did not know what difference it would make. Watching young people being taken through the process and the penny drop about the implications was fundamental. It seems to me that we need people to engage at the grassroots. What attempt is being made to use voluntary and charitable organisations, many of which—including the churches—have newspapers and all sorts of other publications and are in touch with millions of people, as a way of trying to raise the issue in the next month, as the noble Lord asked? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about grassroots engagement to improve voter turnout”
On 11th February 2015, Lord Storey asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to allow pupils to register to vote in schools, sixth form and further education colleges. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for referring to last week’s National Voter Registration Day. As part of that, I went into Townsend School in St Albans with two dynamic members of Bite the Ballot, who were able to bring the whole thing alive in an interactive and very lively session. They handed out registration forms at the end and offered to take them back in—so they are already doing this sort of work. Have Her Majesty’s Government considered supporting that organisation and other similar ones that are already doing this work in a very creative way?
Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Cabinet Office): My Lords, I have played the game Rock Enrol!, and I hope that a lot of other noble Lords have done so, too. It demonstrates to young people how politics matters to them. I hope that that is going on all over the place. The Government have their own version of this, and Bite the Ballot has adapted another one. We are discussing with Bite the Ballot the question of support and we very much encourage what it and a number of other organisations are doing to bring young people back into being interested and involved in politics.
On 11th November 2014, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in the the Report Stage of the Government’s Wales Bill. At the request of the Archbishop of Wales, the bishop spoke on behalf of him and the Church in Wales in support of amendments to ensure that electoral registration officers upheld their obligation to engage and support 16- and 17-year olds to ensure they are on the electoral register, and encourage them to vote. Following the debate and comments from the Minister, the amendments were withdrawn.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, it is 94 years since the voice of the bishops in Wales has been heard in this House but, as my noble Lord Roberts implied, I thought it right to consult the Church in Wales, and the Archbishop of Wales in particular, about the amendments, which seem to me to have a great deal of merit, to see whether their voice might be heard today indirectly, as it were. As a result, I can say that the Archbishop of Wales has asked me to convey to your Lordships’ House that the bishops of the Church in Wales are very supportive of the amendments. Indeed, I understand that they also support the extension of the franchise, as was proposed and discussed earlier, but I chose to concentrate my consultations on these amendments. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry highlights Church in Wales support for engagement with young voters”