On Monday 17 July 2017, the Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons, and Michael Ellis MP, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, tabled a motion in the to welcome the work of the United Kingdom Youth Parliament (UKYP) and allow them to use the Chamber for their annual House of Commons Sitting. The motion was passed with unanimous support. The UKYP is the only group other than MPs allowed to debate from the green benches, and they have been doing so annually since 2009.
The UKYP provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds who have been elected locally by their peers to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. Elected representatives traditionally meet twice a year, once in summer and every November in the House of Commons. 16 March 2009, Members of Parliament voted to allow UK Youth Parliament to debate in the Chamber; their first sitting took place in October 2009, marking the first time that the Chamber has been used by a group other than MPs.
Yesterday’s motion allows the UKYP to meet once a year in the Chamber of the House of Commons for the duration of the current Parliament, and was supported by a cross-party group of MPs, including Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire.
Following the motion, Victoria commented: “Youth engagement is a vital part of politics. It is so important that young people have the opportunity to participate in its processes and represent the views of their peers.
In previous years, Youth Parliament has had the opportunity to come to Westminster and have a lively discussion on the green benches on a range of extremely relevant subjects including mental health. Locally, my Democracy Challenge will be returning for a third year, and this time around will take place during Parliament Week which runs from 13-17 November. This is a good opportunity for pupils to improve skills in areas such as public speaking and debating.
We are seeing a rise in youth participation. It is a really exciting development for national politics, and it is important that, as MPs, we continue to engage with our younger constituents.”