Cumbria’s three Members of Youth Parliament (MYP’s) attended the House of Commons on Friday 8 November to take part in the UK Youth Parliament, joining over 300 other MYP’s from across the country. The debate was chaired by the new Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, making only his second official appointment as Mr Speaker.A range of topics were debated, selected from the national ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot – the annual process for deciding which topics will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament.
MYP’s from across the country spoke passionately on a range of issues facing young people, including knife crime, climate change, protecting the environment, mental health awareness and hate crime. These were among the top issues voted for by young people to be debated through the Make Your Mark ballot.
The second half of the sitting was chaired by Deputy Speaker, Dame Eleanor Laing. MYP for North Cumbria (Carlisle and Eden), Lizzie Coulthard was invited to speak on the subject of climate change, and she delivered a passionate and well researched speech on why action needs to be taken to prevent a further decline in the state of the environment.
This was Lizzie’s last chance to represent the voice of young people in her constituency, having turned 18 during her time in office. The UK Youth Parliament has 300 elected members aged 11 – 18. Members of Youth Parliament are elected in youth elections throughout the UK every 2 years. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote in the election. In the past two years, one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.
Cumbria County Council has three MYP (Member of Youth Parliament) seats in the UK Youth Parliament and three Deputy MYP posts. Once elected, MYP’s organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people in their area.
In Cumbria, candidates from across the county represent young people in three regions:
- West (Allerdale and Copeland)
- North (Carlisle and Eden)
- South (Barrow and South Lakes)
Lizzie Coulthard, MYP for North Cumbria (2017-2019), said: “I’ve had the most fantastic two years representing the views and interests of young people in Carlisle and Eden. It’s opened a lot of opportunities for me to develop my own skills and passion for democracy and enabled me to meet lots of different people from all over the country that I have learned a lot from. It’s difficult to pick just one highlight from my time in office, but I would say having the platform to speak in the House of Commons about the issues facing young people in Cumbria is near the top. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, the officers from the council and my fellow MYP’s for their support and encouragement during the last two years.”
Registration for candidates wishing to run in next year’s election starts on Monday 9 December 2019 and voting will take place from 2 March 2020 via the online voting platform, Mi-Voice. Information about the application and selection process is being issued to all secondary schools this week, please speak to your head teacher for more information about becoming a candidate.