Search is on for Portsmouth youngster to be Youth Parliament MP

THE search is on to find a budding politician to represent the city at the Youth Parliament.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 10:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 10:11 pm
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan believes it is vital that young people have a voice. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The initiative is being backed by city MPs Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt who both believe it’s vital that young people ‘have a voice’.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Politics matters. We have had so many events over the last 12 months to demonstrate that. And politics is only really effective if it is representative of those it serves. The Youth Parliament gives a forum to a vital voice – those who are our future.

‘I wish everyone good luck and every success.’

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Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt believes the events of the last 12 months demonstrates the importance of politics.

Mr Morgan added: ‘It’s really important young people in Portsmouth understand politics and how it changes lives.

‘Youth Parliament is a fantastic scheme that helps to deliver that and empower the next generation to ensure their voices are heard and to get involved themselves.’

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The city’s representative will work with local leaders on key issues affecting the region as well as taking part in meetings with other youth MPs from across the country.

The city's current member of Youth Parliament, Laura Spurgeon, 14.

With the Covid pandemic having had a massive impact on children and young people, council leaders feel it’s particularly important to ensure young people have a chance to be heard when facing challenges they have never encountered before.

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education Cllr Suzy Horton commented: ‘More so than ever before, it’s really important we have the voices of every individual heard. The role will help change outcomes for children in the city for the better, during a time of uncertainty for many.’

The city’s current youth MP, 14-year-old Laura Spurgeon from Admiral Lord Nelson School, was keen to stress the importance of the role.

Laura said: ‘I was shocked to learn that I’d won and then excited and thankful to be given the opportunity to speak for young people in Portsmouth. Many are passionate about the future but feel our views are discarded and not heard.

‘I have spoken to a range of students about their views on mental health, voting at 16 and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) education.’

The national Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. All members of youth parliament meet nationally twice a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting and UK Youth Parliament House of Commons Sitting.

Alison Jeffery, director of children, families and education at Portsmouth City Council said: ‘Listening to the views of young people is crucial when providing services for them. The role of member of Youth Parliament will help develop what we offer, ensuring the needs of 11 to 17 year olds are met.’

Anyone between the age of 11 and 17 can apply to become a member of the Youth Parliament but applications must be submitted by Friday February 5. Further details and application packs can be found on the Portsmouth Education Partnership website.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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