George takes a stand for Portsmouth’s young people

BIG IDEAS George Elliott, from St Edmund's Catholic School in Portsmouth has won a seat in the UK's Youth Parliament Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (14934-1)
BIG IDEAS George Elliott, from St Edmund's Catholic School in Portsmouth has won a seat in the UK's Youth Parliament Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14934-1)
HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

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A SHREWD student has been elected to the UK’s Youth Parliament by campaigning on transport issues for young people.

George Elliott, who is in Year 11 at St Edmund’s Catholic School in Portsmouth, got 844 votes in an election at the city’s schools to make him the Member of Youth Parliament for Portsmouth.

His nearest rival, and now deputy ‘MYP’ for Portsmouth, was Springfield School Year 8 Lillie Faust, who got 737 votes.

George, 16, said making public transport cheaper was top of his agenda.

He said: ‘I feel that younger people should have cheaper public transport.

‘When we turn 16 we’re classed as an adult in the eyes of the public transport companies.

‘But in the law’s eyes, we’re still children so we should only be charged children’s prices.’

George, who lives in Portsmouth, said he was thrilled to have won the position, which involved being an ambassador for the city’s youth.

He said: ‘I was happy when I got this because I worked hard to get the votes.

‘Being a Member of Youth Parliament means representing the young people of Portsmouth at a national and a regional level.

‘I’ll get to be invited to a meeting of young people from Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, and everywhere they’ve got a youth parliament member.

‘And then there’s a big meeting at the end of the year in the House of Commons.’

George will have regular meetings with Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

He said 13,700 pupils were allowed to vote in the election and the turnout was 20.7 per cent Seven other young people ran.

George also volunteers at Landport Venture Playground, is the school’s community caption and referees football matches.

He said he wanted to go on to college and become a social worker because he liked working with children.

George said: ‘I see that I’ve got a good interaction with children.’

‘Politics hasn’t always attracted me, but now that I’m in the Youth Parliament, I might go into it, I don’t know yet.’

Making Portsmouth safer for young people and promoting health and fitness were other issues George said were important to young people.