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