Three Plymouth UK Youth Parliament members joined 300 other young people between the ages of 11 to 18 in a debate in the House of Commons chamber on Friday 11 November.
The annual event, which is chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, The Right Honourable John Bercow MP, gives young people a first-hand experience of political debate.
Zena Al-Sadoun, Charlotte Barrett and Daniel Michaels all took part in the debates that covered five issues chosen by a ballot from young people across the UK, and then voted to decide which two issues should become the UKYP’s priority campaigns for 2017.
Member of the Youth Parliament 16 year old Charlotte Barrett said: “It was an honour to sit in a place where so many inspirational people have sat before me. I was pleased that ‘votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections’ was voted as one of next year’s national campaigns, as this was a campaign that the young people of Plymouth voted me in with so obviously means a lot to the youth of our city.”
Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament 16 year old Daniel Michaels said: “It has been a truly thought-provoking and memorable experience attending the House of Commons. It was so captivating to listen to such passionate speeches and a great experience to represent the views of young people.”
This event marks the start of Parliament Week (14 to 17 November) an annual national awareness week which aims to build greater awareness, understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK.
Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “The UK Youth Parliament is a fantastic way to get our young people interested in politics and get their voices heard. Our young people are our future political leaders, and this experience really gives them a chance to understand what it feels like to be in the political arena.”
The UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) aims to give the voice of young people the chance to be heard by local and national government. It has been running since 1999 and has a national membership of over 500 young people.
Plymouth City Council’s Youth Service supports the elected members of Youth Parliament to fulfil their chosen campaigns.
There’s still time to register as a candidate in the next Plymouth UK Youth Parliament election. Candidates need to be aged between 11 and 18 years old and go to school, or live in the Plymouth area.
There is no cost involved and knowledge of politics is not necessary as the UK Youth Parliament is an issue based, non-political organisation.
For more information or for an application pack, firstname.lastname@example.org or call/ text 07788 325057.
The deadline for registering as a candidate is Wednesday 30 November. Plymouth City Council Youth Service will then work with the candidates to produce their campaigns before the start of the Election week on Saturday 21 January to Saturday 4 February.