Historical debut for Youth Parliament Commons debate

HISTORY will be made next Friday when members of Devon s Youth Parliament join 300 other young people from across the country to take over the House of Commons chamber.

HISTORY will be made next Friday when members of Devon's Youth Parliament join 300 other young people from across the country to take over the House of Commons chamber.

For the first time in 300 years, MPs voted to allow someone other than themselves the honour of sitting on the famous green benches to hold a Commons debate.

It gives 11-18 year-olds a one-off chance to debate issues of concern to young people across the country, including tackling youth crime, lowering the voting age to 16, jobs and transport provision and free access to university.

Speaker John Bercow is expected to open the session, and Harriet Harman, MP, to welcome the UKYP.

Colyton Grammar School pupil Adam Ward, Devon MYP for Mid and East Devon said: "I am extremely excited about this opportunity to represent young people in my area and I am grateful to MPs for voting to allow us to debate in the chamber."

On the day people will be able to follow what's happening in the House of Commons chamber via a live blog at www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/liveblog.

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Adam has spoken to East Devon MP Hugo Swire about the debate and invited him to the debate.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council's cabinet member for Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing, said: "I feel proud to be cabinet member at such an historic occasion; it is a really significant date in the political calendar which represents a landmark occasion for Devon's Youth Parliament members.

"This promises to be a really exciting debate, and one that I am sure our young people will enjoy taking part in.

"In Devon we actively encourage young people to participate in shaping their services, and the role of our UK Youth Parliament Members is an important one in gauging the views of their peers."

Devon's UK Youth Parliament is currently recruiting for new members ahead of the Big Vote 201 which takes place early next year.

Those between 11 and 18 who think they could represent Devon's young people as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament, will attend a free information day at County Hall, Exeter, on Saturday, November 14 from 11am to 3pm.

There they have the opportunity to meet members of the Devon UK Youth Parliament, take part in workshops, see how they can bring about change, and even put themselves forward for the 2010 elections.

For more information call Lizz Prangle (01392) 382044.

The UK Youth Parliament was established in 1999 to help bring about social and political change.

Once elected, MYPs work with their MPs, councillors, school and youth councils and peer group members on the issues of greatest concern to their constituents.

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