Two Brighton and Hove teenagers given chance to debate in House of Commons

Posted On 29 Oct 2010 at 5:44 am

Two Brighton and Hove teenagers are due to take part in debates in the House of Commons today.

Clare Calder and Kenya Simpson-Martin will join more than 300 other members of the Youth Parliament as they discuss university fees, job opportunities and sex education.

The topics were chosen by a vote among 2,500 youngsters aged 11 to 18.

Today’s debate follows one held last year which was the first time anyone other than MPs had debated in the chamber of the House of Commons.

Clare and Kenya will be representing Brighton and Hove after MPs voted 499 to 21 to allow Youth Parliament debates in the Commons each year until the next election.

The pair are being supported by the participation team at Brighton and Hove City Council. The team aims to empower children and young people to speak out.

Kenya, 17, said: “I am so happy to be involved.

“We’re making history!

“Being involved (in the Youth Parliament) is the best thing in my life because it is an opportunity to not only help other young people but to experience democracy and politics in action.”

Councillor Vanessa Brown, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It’s vital that young people’s voices are heard in the most important debating chamber in the land.

“I applaud the choices of issues being debated as they are all hugely important for young people and the future they face.”

The five issues being debated are

  1. Job opportunities – Is enough being done to create jobs for young people? Should there be more work experience opportunities for young people in school and college?
  2. Sex Education – Is it good enough? At what age should it be taught? Does sex education lead to the sexualisation of young people? Do young people learn about sex from TV?
  3. Transport – Is public transport too expensive for young people? At what age should you be charged an adult fare?
  4. University – Are fees too high? Is it even worth going to university? Are there enough places for those who want to go?
  5. War – Should British troops be brought home from Afghanistan? Was the conflict in Iraq a costly mistake? Is war ever justified?

The UK Youth Parliament is now calling for young people across the country to submit views on the debate topics, via the UK Youth Parliament website www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk.

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