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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 11:59 GMT
Youth Parliament 'will shape UK'
Palace of Westminster
Some MYPs may have their sights on higher things
More than 200 young politicians have taken their seats at the first sitting of the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP), with the promise they will have the power to influence national government.

Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs), aged between 11 and 18, come from a range of backgrounds across the UK.


The UKYP will have the power to influence national and local government, other services and agencies that deal with young people

Malcolm Wicks
They will debate ideas and concerns relevant to young people and draft a youth manifesto to be presented to the government.

The session, which opened on Friday at the Cumberland Hotel in London, will sit for three days.

Over the coming years, MYPs and other young people will be able to exchange views and opinions via a special website and will meet in smaller groups on a local level.

The parliament was opened by the Lifelong Learning Minister, Malcolm Wicks, who described the first sitting as exciting and important.

'Exchange views'

"It will give young people from all over the UK an opportunity to exchange views and experiences, and voice their concerns about things that affect them.

"The UKYP will have the power to influence national and local government, other services and agencies that deal with young people," Mr Wicks said.

He looked forward to hearing from the MYPs about their experiences and was especially keen to read members' youth manifesto.

Over the weekend the Deputy Home Secretary, Paul Boateng and the Local Government and Regions Minister, Hilary Armstrong will attend the UKYP conference.

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