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Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Youth Parliament meets in Commons

Ian Paul
Ian Paul
Editor, Politics Show South

We meet one member of the Youth Parliament campaigning for concessionary travel

The UK Youth Parliament made history this week by holding a series of debates in the House of Commons chamber.

It is the only time in 300 years that anyone other than MPs has been allowed to speak from there.

They discussed a range of issues important to young people.

Was it just an eye-catching gimmick, or a sign that the politicians are actually prepared to listen to what future voters have on their minds?

Youth matters

You will certainly find young people in the news at the moment.

Visit the 11 Million website and you can see a countdown to Takeover Day, when children and young people get involved in decision-making and get to "show the adults what they can do."

So says Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner for England. His hope is that adults will help 30,000 youngsters get to have their say on Friday 6 November.

They might be "taking over" schools, companies, organisations or youth clubs - last year one youngster even "took over" the Department for Children, Schools and Families and was rather impressed with Ed Balls' free chocolate.

Commons touch

As for the Youth Parliament "taking over" the House of Commons, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that there is such a thing as a Youth Parliament.

But there is, and it has members all over the country. Anyone from 11 to 18 can stand, and it is there to give a voice to all those voters and tax payers of the future.

Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif says that young people have a view on the world

Omar Sharif is an MYP from Dorset who is keen to see concessionary travel for under-18s in full-time education.

He has already handed in a 2,000-signature petition to Downing Street and was hoping to speak in the Westminster debate asking why there is free transport for the over-60s but not for young people.

The cynical answer might be that older people have the vote and are active in using it.

Not a view that would find much sympathy with Omar, who argues that "just because we are young it doesn't mean that we don't have ideas or we don't have a view on the world as it is".

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Children's commissioner nominated
06 Oct 09 |  Education
Youth parliament to sit in Commons
28 Oct 09 |  UK Politics


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