The House of Commons welcomed over 300 young people into Parliament for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament on Friday 15 November.
The UK Youth Parliament sitting marks the launch of Parliament Week, an annual national awareness week which aims to build greater awareness, understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK.
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the UK Youth Parliament sitting in the Commons Chamber, the only group other than MPs allowed to sit on the green benches.
Presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Members of Youth Parliament aged 11-18 took part in five debates, the subjects for which were voted for by 478,386 young people across the UK.
Of the five topics, ‘Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections’ was voted as the Youth Parliament UK-wide campaign issue for 2014. The devolved (England only) campaign issue for 2014 will be ‘A curriculum to provide us for life’.
'Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections’ received 217 of the 233 votes cast. The ‘A curriculum to provide us for life’ received the 136 of the 293 votes cast.
The three other motions debated by young people in the chamber were 'Zero tolerance towards bullying in schools', 'Combating youth unemployment' and 'Better work experience and careers advice'.
The young person who introduced the winning debate for ‘Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections’, Shakeel Hajat, 17, from Derbyshire said: “I’m just so happy that votes at 16 finally came to our attention. It’s such a long time coming and I think if we really push this and are seen to push it in the coming year we’ll be figureheads for the greatest voting reform this century.”
The Commons sitting of the UKYP is one of the key events of Parliament Week.
Image: Parliamentary Copyright
This article was produced by the Commons Digital Outreach Team. Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.