Youth Parliament debates in Commons Chamber

30 October 2009

On Friday 30 October the green benches of the House of Commons seated 300 Members of the UK Youth Parliament, following a decision by MPs to allow the organisation to hold its annual debate in the Commons Chamber for the first time.

The 11-18 year olds debated a range of issues and voted lowering the voting age to 16 as the issue on which they would campaign over the next year.

The debate started at 11am and finished at 3.30pm and the Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) tackled the following five issues:

  • Lowering the voting age to 16
  • Youth crime and how to tackle it
  • Public transport for young people
  • Jobs for young people and the economy
  • University fees

In March the House of Commons voted to allow the UK Youth Parliament to use the Commons Chamber for a one-off event and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, agreed to chair the debate.

The event aimed to give young people a greater understanding of how Parliament works and its role in making the law and holding the Government to account.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said:

"I am delighted to welcome the Youth Parliament delegates to the House. This is an historic moment and one which I hope will show young people that the House of Commons, and the work that goes on here, is relevant to their lives."

The UK Youth Parliament has 600 elected MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament) aged 11-18. MYPs are elected in annual youth elections throughout the UK. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote. In the past two years one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.

Once elected MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting.

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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