Liz's answers to your questions
1. How do you plan to get young members more involved in the Labour Party?
Too often in the Labour Party we treat young members as leaflet delivers and canvassers, when you have so much more to offer our party. And it’s wrong to expect younger members to be happy just being the youth officer – I want to see young members taking on more responsibility in their local parties. That’s not a simple process, and will require a change in the culture around the party. Too often the party isn’t welcoming enough, and the way the party is run doesn’t always help – people don’t join the Labour Party to come to meetings. We need to engage young members – all members – by inspiring them and involving them, not just inviting them to meetings or canvassing sessions.
2. What is your strategy to press the Government to allow 16 and 17- year-olds to vote in the European Referendum?
We’ve got to start with trying to amend the legislation in the Commons. Our relationship with Europe is hugely important for the future of our economy – and 16 and 17 year olds need to have their voices heard in that debate. We’ve also got to use the other powers at our disposal – including opposition day motions – to show the strength of support in Parliament for such a change. The lesson of the Scottish Referendum is clear – when 16 and 17 year olds were given a chance to have their say, they turned out to vote.
3. How can Labour get more women and young people, as well as BAME, disabled and LGBT members to stand for selection as candidates?
Parliamentary selections are long and expensive to take part in, and that has a disproportionate impact on young members. But we need to do more to get young members selected as councillors too. That means more training for young members who want to stand for election and greater outreach amongst our own members to find the young members who want to stand but don’t know how.
4. Do you support an equal minimum wage for young people?
The Low Pay Commission is an effective body, and a great example of the good work Labour did in government – they should still say what level the National Minimum Wage should be set at, including for young people. But, as I’ve been saying recently, we need to do more than just raise the National Minimum Wage. We need to build a Living Wage Society. I would extend the legal remit of the Low Pay Commission to work with employers, unions and civil society to identify practical, non-statutory ways to move wages towards the living wage, sector by sector.
5. How can Labour get more young people involved in politics and increase electoral turnout amongst young people?
We need to introduce compulsory and quality citizenship education, so that young people understand the difference their vote and their voice makes. We need to engage and inspire young voters. I spend a lot of time going to schools in my constituency to talk to young people about my role as an MP and the importance of voting. A recent poll in the Independent showed that I’m already the best placed candidate to improve Labour’s support amongst 18-24 year olds – as leader, I’d look to build on that.