Headlines: April 16th, 2010

Almost ninety per cent of students say they will vote in the General Election according to figures released today. They are published as the first of the party leaders is due to take part in a series of online question and answer sessions with students.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will be the first to tackle students’ issues through The Student Room website. He will be followed next week by Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas. They will each post their responses to 10 questions shortlisted from 400 submitted by some of The Student Room’s 2.8 million unique users. The site says this is the leaders’ first direct online engagement with young voters in an election in which the Internet will play an unprecedented role.

Figures it has released today show that turnout among students is likely to be high with 89 per cent saying they will vote. The Electoral Commission reported that only 37 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds voted in the 2005 election. Three quarters of students were also planning to watch last night’s televised leaders’ debate. This is in spite of the fact that two thirds of students do not feel represented by Parliament and almost three-quarters saying Westminster did not pay enough attention to them.

A poll of students’ voting intentions shows the Liberal Democrats on 36 per cent, Conservatives at 27 per cent and Labour a further four points behind. This is based on responses from 1021 users of the site in March. The question and answer sessions will be hosted at www.thestudentroom.co.uk/election2010