MPs decide (eventually) to allow UK Youth Parliament to meet in Commons

by Stephen Tall on March 17, 2009

The UK Youth Parliament will be allowed to hold a meeting in the House of Commons following overwhelming approval from MPs – after a two-hour long debate. The BBC reports:

The move, which was resisted by a handful of Conservative MPs, will see the chamber being used by non-elected parliamentarians for the first time. Opponents said the Commons would abandon its traditions by agreeing, and set a precedent for other groups.

The Youth Parliament, whose 500 members are aged between 11 and 18, is expected to convene over the summer recess. This summer’s meeting will be a one-off event after the Youth Parliament held a gathering in the House of Lords last year. A vote to allow the move was backed by a majority of 189 with 16 MPs opposing it.

The motion put was:

That this House welcomes the work of the United Kingdom Youth Parliament in providing young people with an opportunity to engage with the political process and bring about social change; notes that many hon. Members from all parts of the House are actively involved in the work of the UK Youth Parliament; and accordingly resolves that the UK Youth Parliament should be allowed for this year alone to hold its 2009 annual meeting in the Chamber of this House.

Of the 16 MPs who voted against the proposal, two were Lib Dems:

Bacon, Mr. Richard
Binley, Mr. Brian
Brady, Mr. Graham
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Burgon, Colin
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
Russell, Bob
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Viggers, Sir Peter
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Tellers for the Noes:
Mr. Peter Bone and
Mr. Christopher Chope

No comments

Seems a little unkind of Jeremy given he’s barely out of short-trousers himself.

by Neil Berry on March 17, 2009 at 9:51 am. Reply #

Note also, all men. I know there are more men in Parliment then women but still very interesting.

by JC on March 17, 2009 at 10:33 am. Reply #

This is fantastic news and I am very excited that the UK Youth Parliament will be making history.

Sam Ellis
Chair of the Board of Trustees
UK Youth Parliament

by Sam Ellis on March 17, 2009 at 11:06 am. Reply #

Frankly a ridiculous and pompous stance by those who opposed it. Glad to see that the overwhelming majority of MPs saw sense and supported the proposal.

by KL on March 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm. Reply #

I’d have thought it quite reasonable that non-elected groups shouldn’t be allowed to pose as a parliament in the chamber.

Should we let other groups in, such as those purporting to represent the elderly? I suppose one difference is that most 11-18 year olds are not permitted to stand for election, whereas the elderly (and almost all other groups) can. In which case maybe we should scrap that rule, and also allow votes at 16. Personally I’d allow votes at 11, and if the proponents of this move argue it will engage such people in politics, then why not grant them votes?

by Julian H on March 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm. Reply #

The Youth Parliament *IS* an elected body.

by Huw Dawson on March 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm. Reply #

… but one that is far less accountable than its older sister and that isn’t heard of in some areas outside of its January election cycle. Which I only ever heard about twice before I become inelgible after this year’s. In many ways it does a lot of good work; in other ways it’s a shambles, and to give it the legitimacy of sitting in the Commons without some attempt at reforming it is a mistake. Probably. I can imagine Bob’s objection ran along those lines.

by Robson Brown on March 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm. Reply #

The Youth Parliament *IS* an elected body.

Ah yes, so it is! Ignore everything I’ve said (in this thread, at least).

by Julian H on March 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm. Reply #

Anyone actually know why Jeremy and Bob voted the way they did?

by Nick on March 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm. Reply #

I’m with the nay-sayers, but for a completely different reason. The old HoC layout is deliberately confrontational and encourages schoolyard politics.

They’d be better off in Westminster Hall.

by MatGB on March 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm. Reply #

Anyone actually know why Jeremy and Bob voted the way they did?

I emailed Jeremy’s office this morning to ask. Will post when I hear.

by Stephen Tall on March 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm. Reply #

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