A Youngster from our area got the chance to vote in the House of Commons, representing other young people in North East Lincolnshire.
Zach Steeles visited the centre stage of British politics following his election to UK Youth Parliament as the Member for North East Lincolnshire.
Each year the iconic green benches are taken up by young people from across the country to debate issues that are most important to them.
The Youth Parliament members this year consulted some 1.1 million young people to create a shortlist of five big issues.
Those issues were:
- Putting an end to knife crime
- Votes for 16 year olds
- Equal pay for equal work
- Mental health
From the list, the House of Commons debate resulted in a focus on two of these issues to be taken forward for a national campaign: Putting an end to knife crime, and votes for 16 year olds.
Zach also recently took part in a question time-style debate with Councillors, young people and Police representatives, as well as meeting a representative of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioners to discuss about the issue of knife crime.
Speaking after the debate, Zach said: “Initially I felt quite intimidated being given the opportunity to represent young people in such a prestigious place with so much history, but soon it felt like a ‘chamber away from chamber’.”
“I have amazed myself at how much I have achieved and the opportunities I have had as Member of UK Youth Parliament for North East Lincolnshire.
“I hope I have made the young people of our area proud by representing their views both regionally and nationally.”
Councillor Kath Wheatley, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “The UK Youth Parliament is a great chance for young people to have a real say in British politics and channel their efforts into making an impact on the issues that are important to them.
“I’m really proud of Zach and young people like him that are taking an interest in politics and democracy, and get involved in shaping the future.”
Members of Youth Parliament are set to formally launch the campaigns during their day of action in January 2019. UK Youth Parliament will now begin to develop campaign actions for the campaigns ahead.
The debate, which was chaired by the Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, is available to watch now on BBC iplayer via the BBC Parliament channel.