(Pictured above - Matthew Otubu, MYP for Newcastle, with his Adopt A Lord certificate)

This weekend saw the launch of the Votes at 16 Coalition's Adopt a Lord Campaign. Following the adoption of lowering the voting age to 16 for all public elections as the UK Youth Parliament's priority campaign for 2014 - as debated in the House of Commons - the UKYP will be joining the coalition to boost the campaign for the extension of the franchise.

At conventions all around England hundreds of young people, including members of the UK Youth Parliament, decided which Lords to target to help raise awareness and spread their message through the House of Lords. Each peer will be "adopted" by at least one young person who will then keep in regular contact with their Lord to make the case and help generate support for Votes at 16.

Lord Tyler, whose ' Voting Age (Comprehensive Reduction) Bill' is currently passing through the House, says that:

"The British Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament are helping young people to show Peers that they are engaged with politics - sometimes much more than their elders - and should be able to express their views at the ballot box. Once adopted by a young citizen, I'm sure more of my colleagues will be persuaded to support my Bill to lower the voting age to 16.  Politicians who think 16 and 17 year olds should still be seen but not heard have a shock to come."

Leading the case for supporting the campaign in the Commons debate, Shakeel Hajat (17) MYP for Derbyshire said "I implore you to support a national campaign that will change the lives of young people for centuries to come. Let's re-engage the disengaged, enfranchise the disfranchised and regard the disregarded. Let's give the vote to young people, who deserve that responsibility. Scott Simpson MYP for Scotland (and the Scottish Youth Parliament) where young people aged 16 will be able to vote in the referendum on Scottish independence backed the call "I have found that young people all over Scotland are engaging deeply in debate and that more young people are engaging with politics. Lowering the voting age to 16 for all elections and referendums would ensure that many fewer young people felt disconnected from politicians."

BYC CEO James Cathcart added "Whilst young people campaign on their own they will always be in the minority of public opinion, but campaigns like this mark a shift in tactics, to target and form alliances with other stakeholders, and other age groups, and open up a new front in the campaign."

For more information on the campaign as a whole, and to find out more about "Adopting a Lord", please see www.votesat16.org