Members of Parliament from across the House rallied on College Green outside Parliament in support of the launch of the Make Your Mark campaign. Minister for Youth, Rob Wilson MP and newly appointed Shadow Chief Whip, Rosie Winterton MP were among some of the MPs who attended our Parliament launch. This follows our initial launch appealing to young people (aged 11-18 years old) to take part in ‘Make Your Mark’ its annual ballot of young people living in the UK.
The Make Your Mark ballot contains 10 policies voted for by Members of Youth Parliament including poverty, mental health, curriculum, climate change and votes at 16 (for full list see notes) and have reflected their election pledges in local elections across the UK. The campaign will see Members and Volunteer Campaigners across the country, inviting young people in schools and youth clubs to take this opportunity to have their say to Government and society.
The photo call, which will see Members of Parliament taking part before and after our first Prime Ministers Questions of the term will take place on College Green, Westminster between 9am and 3pm with peaks at 9:30am, 11:00am, 12:45pm and 1.30pm.
This year’s campaign, supported by the NCS (National Citizen Service), aims to reach 1 million young people and break last year’s record 876,488 young people taking part. The ballot will contain 10 policies that address the key issues facing young people in the UK, which Members of Youth Parliament have championed and shaped on behalf of local constituencies.
The aim of the exercise is to bring these issues to the attention of Government Ministers, including the Minister for Civil Society / and Youth Policy who will attend and reply on behalf of the Government. The Commons debate will be chaired by The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, who recently opened the UK Youth Parliament in Exeter at its Annual Sitting (which meets alternately outside London). Young members will then walk through the division lobbies to vote on what should be a become their priority campaigns for 2015/16. In previous years they have chosen Living Wage, Votes at 16, Education and Transport and Mental Health.
Young people can take part in the consultation by visiting: www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark
James Cathcart, Chief Executive of the British Youth Council, which manages the UK Youth Parliament and the campaign said: “This is the biggest youth ballot in the UK and Europe – when over a million are expected to ask the Government to listen to their concerns. Young people do care, are active, want change – and have something to say. Lets listen. Its great that nearly 100 MPs are supporting this launch from across parties. We ask that they will also take the results seriously and debate the issues in Parliament.”
Minhaz Abedin, Member of Youth Parliament for Leeds said: “This is a huge opportunity for young people to have their voice heard! For too long politicians have ignored the voice of young people but now we have a platform they can’t ignore. The more voices we canvas and listen to, the harder it’ll be for anyone to ignore us. I can’t wait to see the chamber packed with MYPs that are there with one purpose; to voice the opinion of young people.”
This year’s Youth Parliament, which itself was elected in local elections by 100,000s teenagers, is expected to be one of the most diverse collection of representatives to sit on the green benches ever – with representation for women, ethnic minorities, and faiths. The young elected reps, aged 12-18, include many facing the very day to day challenges that their campaigns seek to address.