Two teenagers are set to represent Wolverhampton at the House of Commons later this week as the Youth Parliament debates the issues which matter most to the country’s young people.
Wolverhampton Youth MPs Sarjan Hira and Darram Kooner will be among 300 members of the UK Youth Parliament who will be experiencing life on the famous green leather benches of the House of Commons Chamber on Friday (11 November, 2016).
They will have the opportunity to discuss a range of issues in a debate chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP. The event will coincide with Armistice Day, marking 98 years since the end of the First World War.
The Youth MPs work all year round to represent the views of young people in their area, and were elected to the UK Youth Parliament earlier this year.
Sarjan, 16, said: “To say to people I am going to the House of Commons is just unheard of. Young people our age don’t really get these privileges, yet I will have the honour of sitting and speaking in the House of Commons. I can’t wait."
Darram 14, added: "It’s is a huge privilege to represent the young people of Wolverhampton in the House of Commons, and I will do my best to ensure I do so."
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I am sure that Sarjun and Darram will do a tremendous job representing Wolverhampton in the House of Commons.
“This is a great opportunity for them to have their say on the issues that matter most to young people today.”
A record 978,216 young people across the UK took part in a Make Your Mark ballot to decide which issues will be debated. A total of 5,190 votes were cast in Wolverhampton, 22.34% of the youth population in the city.
The issues to be debated by the Youth MPs are as follows:
A Curriculum to Prepare Us For Life – that schools should cover topics including finance, sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum.
Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish – that all young people should work together to combat racism and other forms of discrimination, and ensure we know the dangers of such hatred.
Transport – that public transport should be cheaper, better and accessible for all.
Votes at 16 – that 16 and 17-year-olds be given the right to vote in all elections/referendums.
Stop cuts that affect the NHS – that funding to the NHS shouldn't be cut, keeping vital services which protect young people.
Friday's event forms part of Parliament Week, an annual event which aims to build greater awareness, understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK. The debate will be broadcast live on the BBC Parliament channel online and coverage will also be shown on the BBC Parliament TV channel.
Next week, the new members of Wolverhampton Youth Council are set to be unveiled at a ceremony taking place at the Civic Centre on Wednesday 16 November, 2016.