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Equal marriage rights and an equal minimum wage are two of the five of the topics that will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) on Friday 23 November when Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are invited into the House of Commons chamber for the fourth year running.

Over 250,000 young people (11-18 years old) from across the UK voted to see these issues debated, representing a marked increase from the 65,000 ballots received in 2011. 

The event will be screened as live by BBC Parliament, and all schools across the UK have been encouraged to tune in to watch the debates which will be broadcast from 11:10 and will finish at 14:40, at which time the MYPs will vote to decide which of the five debated topics will become the focus of their national 2013 campaign.

11.10 - 12.40

  • Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all, which was also selected in 2011 as a key issue
  • Getting ready for work, which asks that work experience placements be made available to all school pupils
  • Marriage for all people in the UK

13.40 - 14.40

  • An equal minimum wage for adults and young people
  • A curriculum to prepare us for life, which was chosen directly by Members of the UK Youth Parliament. 

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

"The UK Youth Parliament sitting in the House of Commons has become an annual event of significant importance as indicated by the great numbers of young people who cast their ballot to hear these issues discussed. I am delighted to see an ever increasing number of young people show their interest in the issues that matter to them, and I am pleased that the House of Commons can offer the Chamber as a platform for young people to share their views."

MYPs will also be joined by the Leader of the House, Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP and Shadow Leader of the House, Angela Eagle MP, who will open the debate from the despatch box in recognition of the UKYP as the only external group permitted to use the House of Commons chamber.

Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, said:

"It is inspiring to see the enthusiasm shown by young people for parliamentary debate and we warmly welcome all those taking part in Friday's proceedings. Among them will be some who imagine that, one day, they also will occupy a place on the green benches as of right. We continually aim to broaden the public's engagement with the work of the House of Commons - the chief forum of our democracy. It is important that a new generation is demonstrating a keen interest in it and I hope that it will be a rewarding experience for everyone on the day."

Angela Eagle MP, said:

"I had the pleasure of welcoming the UK Youth Parliament to the House of Commons last year and I very much welcome them again this year. For more than a decade, UKYP has established itself as a powerful voice for Britain's youth. UKYP members should be proud of their achievements and the invaluable contribution they have made politics at a national level. I hope the young parliamentarians enjoy another successful meeting in Parliament on Friday."

Over 300 MYPs from across the UK will be participating 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 Commons sitting of the UKYP is one of the key events of Parliament Week, a national awareness week supported by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In the weeks leading up to Parliament Week, schools across the UK have been debating these Youth Parliament topics in their classrooms using the free Parliament Week resource, Create the Debate, which was produced in association with BBC Three's Free Speech and the UK Youth Parliament.

Information for journalists

1.     For interview requests with Members of Parliament please contact Anikka Weerasinghe on / 0207 219 0849 or Gary Calder / 0207 219 1123. To interview Members of the Youth Parliament please contact Jemma Roche on / 020 7250 8368 / 07809 507365.
2.     For feed requests or high resolution photographs please contact Gary Calder / 0207 219 1123 or Anikka Weerasinghe on / 0207 219 0849.