The afternoon session began with Question Time, a lively exchange between Government and Opposition, in which both parties and the Independents displayed fast-developing political agility. The Government’s Ministers were challenged on policing, international peacekeeping, lifelong education, energy policy, food security and public sector cuts. Overseas aid was raised by several young parliamentarians, showing Commonwealthland’s cross-party commitment to realising the Millennium Goals.
This was followed by a debate on a motion suggested by the Opposition, in this case relating to the introduction in Commonwealthland of free compulsory education for all to the age of 16 and continued free training to the age of 18. It was a lively debate, with most of the young parliamentarians making a contribution. In this debate even more than in the preceding three, the clear difference in policy between the governing Young Democrat Party and opposition Progressive Youth Alliance; the groups have evidently forged clear identities as parties.
In a shock turn of events, the Government lost the debate by two votes – due to a small absent group of Government Parliamentarians who failed to return to the chamber in time to vote. Hon. Nigel Evans MP, First Deputy Chairman, Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker, who presided over both these sessions, pointed out that this defeat would ordinarily lead to a motion to a Vote of No Confidence in the Government – a harshly-taught lesson for the Government Whip! Mr Evans concluded by commending the participants on their skill, and encouraging them to pursue all their political aspirations.