The Youth Parliament session raises the curtain on this year’s UK Parliament Week (12-18 November), an annual festival of events intended to connect communities across the UK with their democracy. This now the ninth session of the Youth Parliament in the Commons Chamber and the topics for debate were selected through the annual Make Your Mark campaign.
This was the UK’s largest ever ballot of young people, with over a million young people aged 11-18 voting. The campaign was supported by local authorities, the UK Parliament, British Youth Council, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
What will the session involve?
As part of the session, a series of speeches will be made to mark 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted the vote to some women and most men.
The debate will be streamed live (with a 20 minute delay) on the UK Parliament website parliamentlive.tv and on the UK Parliament’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.
Highlights from the debates will also be broadcast on BBC Parliament from 12noon on Saturday 10th November.
Why is the Youth Parliament so important?
The session will be presided over by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, who said: “I am very pleased to be welcoming Members of the Youth Parliament to the House of Commons for the 9th time. This annual event is now a well- established and important moment in the parliamentary calendar. At such turbulent times it is vital that the voices of our future are heard - and the fact that over a million people voted for the motions to be debated by the MYPs, shows that young people are engaging fully and enthusiastically with the democratic process.”
MYPs will also be joined by Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House, and Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House, who will both speak from the despatch box in recognition of the UK Youth Parliament being the only external group allowed to hold debates in the House of Commons Chamber.
Andrea Leadsom MP commented: “"At such a crucial time for our country, we need to hear the voices of young people, who will help steer our future. UK Youth Parliament is a fantastic opportunity for young people to raise the issues they care about most, right in the heart of our democracy. I know that MPs in Parliament and Ministers in Whitehall will listen carefully to what MYPs have to say.”
Valerie Vaz MP said: ““I am delighted to welcome and to hear Members of the Youth Parliament to the House for the 9th time. Over a million young people voted to select the topics. From mental health to promoting democracy and tackling the scourge of knife crime, these are all extremely pertinent issues, and I look forward to an engaging debate which I am sure will be of the usual high standard.”
Marcus Dyke, Member of Youth Parliament for Kingston upon Thames, said “Members of Youth Parliament will take over the Commons chamber to debate the top concerns of young people in the UK. These issues were chosen in a nationwide ballot of over 1.1 million young people. Their voices must be heard! It’s imperative that moving forward, young people’s views are not only given a platform but are listened to by decision makers across the country.”
Breakdown of the day
Morning session (11:10am-12:40pm):
- Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections/referendums.
- Tackling homelessness Every person should have a place to live and the opportunity to live comfortably. Let’s make it happen and put a stop to homelessness.
- Equal pay, equal work Give young people the same amount of pay, if they are doing the same work as adults in the same job.
Afternoon session (1:30pm-4pm)
- Mental health Mental health services should be improved with young people’s help; and should be available in schools.
- Putting an end to knife crime Too many young people’s lives are lost to knife crime; the Government need to do more to help end the knife crime epidemic.
For further information on this year's Youth Parliament you can read the briefing from the House of Commons library here.
You can also visit the Youth Parliament website here.
To find out more about UK Parliament Week, and how you can get involved, visit the website here.