UK Youth Parliament annual sitting kicks off Parliament Week 2016

On Friday 11 November, Members of the UK Youth Parliament will debate a range of topical issues, including the need for cheap, accessible public transport and tackling racist and religious discrimination. In addition, they will hold a short debate on to reflect on current political affairs and their ideas for “A Better, Kinder Democracy.”

The Youth Parliament, sitting for its seventh year in the House of Commons Chamber, heralds the start of UK Parliament Week (14-20 November), an annual festival of events intended to connect communities across the UK with their democracy.

This year’s Make Your Mark campaign to decide the topics of the Youth Parliament’s debate in the House of Commons received a record number of ballots, reaching 978,216 young people. Make Your Mark is now the biggest youth consultation of its kind in UK history, with almost two million young people aged 11-18 taking part in the last two years.

Schools across the UK have been encouraged to tune in to watch the debates which will be streamed on and broadcast on BBC Parliament from 11.15am. At the close of debates, MYPs will vote to decide which of the topics will become the focus of their national 2017 campaign.

For the first time, the annual sitting of the Youth Parliament coincides with Armistice Day, and so the session will begin with a two minute silence at 11.00, which will be streamed live on the UK Parliament website.

Morning session
Watch from 11.15am (broadcast concludes by approximately 12.40pm)
· We must stop cuts that affect the NHS
· Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections
· Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all

Afternoon session
Watch from 1.40pm
· Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish
· A curriculum to prepare us for life
· ‘A Better, Kinder Democracy’

The UKYP sitting will be presided over by the Speaker Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, who said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Youth Parliament to their annual sitting. It is always encouraging to see young people debating issues so passionately in the House of Commons and participating in our democracy. Almost a million young people, from across the UK, voted for the motions before us on the Order Paper today, and I am pleased that they are making their voices heard and engaging with the parliamentary process.”

MYPs will also be joined by David Lidington 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 UKYP as the only external group permitted to use the House of Commons Chamber.
David Lidington MP, Leader of the House of Commons, said:
“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, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, 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.”

Connor Hill, Member of Youth Parliament for Dudley said:
“We as a Youth Parliament are proud to represent young people across the UK and the House of Commons is the perfect place to do just that. We have once again carried out the largest youth consultation in the UK. The number of young people taking part in Make Your Mark this year has reached the phenomenal heights of over 978,000 ballots. The opportunity to debate issues that young people have voted on in such a hallow chamber is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every single MYP is honoured to be able to do so to represent their area.”

Around 250 MYPs from across the UK will participate in the debate and have been elected by their peers to represent them. MPs have also been invited to meet their local Youth Parliamentarians on the day to discuss these key issues.

The Youth Parliament is one of the key events of Parliament Week, a national awareness week supported by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

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