It was refreshing last Friday to see the House of Commons chamber filled with so many eager young faces, as Westminster welcomed the UK Youth Parliament back to London for its annual sitting.
The ninth sitting of the Youth Parliament saw representatives from across the UK coming together as park of UK Parliament Week – the annual celebration of our parliamentary democratic system – to debate topics chosen by nearly 1 million 11 to 18 year-olds. Protections for LGBT+ people, votes at 16, work experience hubs, transport issues, and a curriculum to prepare for life were all debated, with MYPs rounding off their day with speeches on the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967. You can read the full transcript of the day’s proceedings online, which were also broadcast on Facebook Live and aired on BBC Parliament over the weekend, and you can see more information about the entire day on the Youth Parliament’s website.
As Leader of the Commons, it was my pleasure to welcome all the MYPs to their places in the Commons, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their debates and following on Hansard afterwards. Their green benches are more diverse than ours, with a better gender balance and representatives from a wider range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. There is much we as MPs can learn from our MYP colleagues.
If you are interested in finding more about the UK Youth Parliament, or would like to stand as a Member of the Youth Parliament, do visit their website.