United Nations comes to Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Grammar School pupil (right) speaking for the USA , Douglas James ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14139-5246)
Portsmouth Grammar School pupil (right) speaking for the USA , Douglas James ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14139-5246)
Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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TIME travel, space exploration, euthanasia and gay rights were among the topics discussed by young people as they took over Portsmouth’s council chamber.

Suited and booted, around 50 teenagers replicated a meeting of the United Nations at Portsmouth’s Guildhall.

It was a lively affair with plenty of jeering, boos and applause.

The budding politicians were a mixture of pupils from Springfield School and Portsmouth Grammar School.

Adam Boxall, 15, who helped to organise the event, said it was an amazing experience to debate in the plush environs of the council chamber.

He said: ‘This is debating about politics and this is where politics happens. It’s something special.’

Tom Guy, 16, head boy at Springfield, said: ‘It’s unique.

‘There’s nothing else like this where you can experience this as a young person.’

Kirsty Edginton, 16, said: ‘We were discussing human rights. We discussed euthanasia, whether we should legalise gay marriage in every country.

‘We discussed freedom of speech and whether you should censor the media.

‘It helps you learn how politics is discussed in real life.

‘We have nominations for funniest delegate, as well as the best and the one who spoke the most. There was a lot of laughs. It really increases people’s confidence.’

Megan Hall, 15, one of the organisers, said: ‘We kindly had an offer from the Guildhall to let out the rooms which was an amazing opportunity for us.

‘The atmosphere has been amazing – everybody coming together smartly dressed and ready to debate. We had an interesting one on time travel.’