Pro- and anti-Brexit groups have joined forces for a new campaign to encourage young people to register to vote.
The initiative – called Vote For Your Future – is intended to dramatically increase turnout at next month’s planned European elections, which are expected to be dominated by the issue of Britain’s departure from the EU. The project involves organisations from both sides of the Brexit debate.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, co-founder of For our Future’s Sake – an anti-Brexit organisation – said: ‘So much has happened in such a short space of time and it’s the young people who will have to deal with the outcome for much longer.
‘If a group of young people with vastly different views, not just on Brexit but on life, can come together for the sake of getting younger people into the voting booth, it should make adults and parliament take a reflective moment to see what more they could have done to get young people to vote.’
At present one in three young people are not on the electoral roll. Among over-65s, 96% are registered to vote.
The European elections are due to be held on May 23 – although they will not take place if Theresa May is able to pass her Withdrawal Agreement through parliament in time. The deadline for registering to vote is May 8.
Ellie Varley, a 21-year-old pro-Brexit campaigner, said: ‘Vote For Your Future is a cross-party campaign, made up of young people from all sides of the Brexit debate. No matter how we vote on May 23, it’s critically important young people get registered and turn out in this year’s European elections.
‘I strongly support leaving the European Union – as do lots of young people across the United Kingdom. It’s important all young people’s voices are heard, and that’s why Vote For Your Future are urging as many young people as possible to register to vote, and turn out in the European elections.’
President of the National Union of Students Shakira Martin said: ‘There is a myth that this country is irredeemably divided. Vote For Your Future is a shining example of young people from all sides of the Brexit debate coming together in support of youth voice and being an active part of our democracy.
‘This year’s European Elections are critically important, and no matter if you’re a Remainer or a Leaver, we urge all young people to register, and vote on May 23.’