More than 250 young people from over 100 Local Authorities gathered in Nottingham last weekend (27-29 July) for the 12th annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament, in order to prepare for the Summer Make Your Mark campaign and debate in the House of Commons in November.
Members of the UK Youth Parliament – a youth-led initiative run by the British Youth Council which aims to give a democratic voice to young people aged 11-18 – were welcomed by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon John Bercow MP (pictured), as well as political campaigner Peter Tatchell. The event also featured a keynote speech from Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. Extracts and video clips of their speeches will be exclusively available on our website in due course.
Over three days, the delegates debated issues that affect young people, and took part in workshops and skill sessions. They also voted to decide which topics should be incorporated in the UKYP Manifesto. Over the next few weeks, Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) will vote on what priorites from the Manifesto will be put to a national ballot of young people aged 11-18 across the UK to shortlist topics from this national ballot to be debated at the House of Commons sitting in November. At the Commons sitting, one topic will be chosen to be UKYP’s priority campaign for 2013
Writing in the UKYP Annual Sitting newsletter, Olivia Bushell (MYP for Torbay) said:
“The 2012 annual sitting proved to be inspirational within the first two hours as guest speaker John Bercow revealed his perspective that sex and relationship education and political education should be made compulsory in citizenship education. His stance filled me with confidence as I became aware that his views on the matter are closely aligned with that of Torbay Youth Parliament. The motivational speeches continued with Peter Tatchell encouraging us that campaigns can be successful when put into action, as demonstrated by his various human rights campaigns. Finally, the other MYPs and myself left the conference centre with the wise words of Tim Loughton ringing in our heads as he reminded us that: ‘young people make up 20% of the population but 100% of the future’.”