This weekend over 250 Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK met in Liverpool for the UK Youth Parliament’s 17th Annual Sitting to debate new policies and campaigns for the year ahead. The sitting forms yet another example of young people pushing forward their vision for a better country and a better world. There are no political parties or adversarial opposition, but everyone has an independent vote and the emphasis is on persuasion, consensus and researched arguments.
The three-day residential which took place at Liverpool Hope University was opened by Vimla Appadoo who told the sitting about her experiences volunteering with the Holocaust Educational Trust. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, who has spoken at every Annual Sitting since his first election, also addressed the sitting of Members of Youth Parliament. The Speaker gave an impassioned speech about the importance of young people having a voice. To close the sitting, Margaret Aspinall CBE, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group told her story and gave an inspirational speech about the importance of the perseverance and fighting for injustices.
During the weekend issues such as support for young carers, improving healthcare services, supporting EU national’s post-Brexit and protecting the LGBT+ community all gained momentum following debates on new policy for the manifesto.
Connor Hill, Procedures Group representative for West Midlands, who helped to coordinate the event, said “The Annual Sitting is a key part of the calendar year for Members of Youth Parliament and it’s been fantastic to see the raw passion of the members during the debates. Following this weekend’s event, MYPs will be armed with plenty of knowledge and skills to carry on pursuing their roles back in their local authority to continue making sure that young people are represented on an effective scale both locally and nationally. It is programmes like this that enable young people to have an effective voice towards government regarding matters that concern young people.”
Luke Thornton, Trustee of the British Youth Council said “It was an absolute pleasure to visit the UK Youth Parliament’s Annual Sitting. It really was great to see Members of Youth Parliament from different parts of the UK talking passionately about the issues they care about and the ways in which they want to address those issues. This is just one example of yet more young people giving up time to take part in social action”
Members of Youth Parliament were busy preparing for UK Youth Parliament annual Make Your Mark campaign which commences on Saturday 2nd July 2017. Make Your Mark gives young people aged 11 to 18 the chance to tell UK Youth Parliament which issues they believe should be a priority.