The Youth Parliament session fires the starting gun for this year’s UK Parliament Week (13-19 November), an annual festival of events intended to connect communities across the UK with their democracy.
The topics of the Youth Parliament’s debate were selected through the annual Make Your Mark campaign, the UK’s largest ballot of young people. Almost a million young people aged 11-18 took part in the consultation, which was supported by local authorities, the UK Parliament, British Youth Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The debate will be streamed on parliamentlive.tv and on social media live on the UK Parliament’s Facebook page. It will also be broadcast on BBC Parliament on Saturday 11 November from 13:30-15:30 and on Sunday 12 November from 10:00-12:00. At the close of debates, a series of speeches will be made to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
The session will be presided over by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, who said: “I am delighted to be welcoming the UK Youth Parliament to the House of Commons for their annual sitting, which is now firmly established as an important moment in the parliamentary calendar. The fact that almost a million young people voted for the motions to be debated by the MYPs shows that young people are making their voices heard, and engaging 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: “The UK Youth Parliament is an opportunity for Westminster to hear young people raising the issues they care about most. Both MPs in Parliament and ministers in Whitehall will be listening to what MYPs have to say.”
Valerie Vaz MP said: “Nearly a million young people voted to decide the topics that their Members of the Youth Parliament are debating, which range from public services to promoting democracy and fighting discrimination. These are very pertinent at this time, and I look forward to the debate which I am sure will be of the usual very high standard.”
Lara Ferguson, Member of the Youth Parliament for Sheffield, added "We are all really excited to be taking over the House of Commons chamber once again. It is absolutely fantastic to be given the opportunity to debate the most important issues for young people on the famous green benches. It is important that young people are given a platform for their issues so we are delighted to have the support of Mr Speaker and MPs from across the House. My hope is that we will be able to inspire more young people from all walks of life to use their voice and have their say on issues that matter most to them.”