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Eighteen Cumbrian hopefuls for the UK Youth Parliament

The UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) Elections take place on Monday 30 March, and eighteen candidates from across Cumbria are busy campaigning as they seek election to become one of three new Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Cumbria.

The eighteen candidates have been nominated from all six districts across three geographical regions of the county – North (Carlisle & Eden), West (Allerdale & Copeland) and South (Barrow & South Lakeland). Nominations took place between December 2019 and January 2020, with all potential candidates required to attend training activities, submit a manifesto, and prepare a campaigning strategy.

The candidates are now campaigning in schools, academies and colleges across the county, delivering presentations in assemblies and taking part in hustings events. A marketing website, featuring all of the Cumbrian candidates and their manifestos is available for students to log on to with their unique ballot card and cast a vote for their preferred candidate.

The successful candidates will take over from the three current Cumbrian MYP’s – Lizzie Coulthard (Carlisle & Eden), Elspeth Dennison (Allerdale & Copeland) and Reece Hammond (Barrow & South Lakeland). The trio have had a busy year in office, most recently attending a UKYP debate in the House of Commons in November 2020, chaired by Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Once voting has finished, votes will be counted and the results will be announced on Monday 30 March 2020 at County Hall in Kendal. The candidate in each geographical area with the highest number of votes will become the MYP. The candidate with the second highest number of votes in each geographical area will become the Deputy MYP. In the case of an equal number of votes for two or more candidates, a separate election will be held involving the candidates in question and then the same rules will apply until a candidate is selected.

One of the first duties of the newly elected Cumbrian MYP’s will be to contribute to selecting the top ten issues to be considered later in the year as part of the national Make Your Mark ballot.

The Make Your Mark ballot enables young people all over the country to have a say on the issues that affect them in their communities, and these are then considered for national debate by their locally elected MYP’s. Last year’s ballot revealed that the top three issues for young people in Cumbria are: ending knife crime, protecting the environment and transport.

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.”

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said: “Standing as a candidate in the UKYP election is a fantastic way to learn about representing the needs and interests of your peers, and how democracy works in action, and I wish all the candidates the very best of luck.”

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The UK Youth Parliament presents an amazing opportunity and platform for young people. It’s so important to understand how representation works and to highlight the issues that matter to young people. They are our leaders of the future, and engaging in the UKYP election, whether standing as a candidate or simply casting a vote, is a fantastic way to learn about democracy. Well done to everyone taking part and good luck to all of the candidates ahead of the election!”

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