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Politics

UKIP Doesn't Want 16-Year-Olds To Vote In An EU Referendum Because Of Pro-EU Colouring Books

The party's economic spokesperson claimed young people were being "brainwashed" by EU material in schools.

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Patrick O'Flynn said pro-EU propaganda material had "brainwashed" schoolchildren, meaning it would be unfair to allow them to vote.

He said: "[There's] literature from the European Commission or European Parliament that's been circulating in schools that's been heavily been EU-slanted without any balancing on the other side."

The party's deputy chair, Suzanne Evans, agreed that the EU was influencing the opinions of young people through material in schools.

"You walk into Europe House [the EC and the European Parliament's London base] and you can see some of the literature for yourself," she said. "It's everything there from colouring-in books on the Common Agricultural Policy for primary-school children right up to research projects at university level.

"The amount of money that the EU is putting into its propaganda and throughout the entire education system is enormous."

Later, O'Flynn said the colouring books would not affect voting-age students but very young children. He said: "I think the colouring books apply at primary school level because they like to catch them while they're young."

The remarks were made at a press conference the party held in Westminster following an article in the Financial Times that claimed Nick Clegg would support a referendum if certain conditions were met.

O'Flynn particularly expressed concern that Clegg wanted to influence the way the referendum question was phrased, extend the vote to under-18s, and allow EU nationals to vote.

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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