Release date: 19 November 2018
Youth Parliament members from West Sussex put their skills to the ultimate test in a lively House of Commons debate.
Chaired by the Speaker of the House Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the four West Sussex teenagers took part in the annual event for UK Parliament Week.
Oliver Faragher (East Arun, Adur and Worthing), Erin Masterson (Horsham and Mid Sussex), Farah Khan (Crawley and East Grinstead) and Harley Collins (Chichester and West Arun, pictured from L to R), helped debate five issues chosen in a huge ballot by young people from across the UK earlier this year called Make Your Mark.
Erin said: “Going to the House of Commons was so surreal. I had seen it all on TV before, so to actually be there, sitting on the green seats was very bizarre!
“The speeches were all amazing, and although I didn’t get to speak myself, I still got so much from the experience. It was extremely inspiring and eye opening. Now I feel as if I can do anything I set my mind to.”
All the 11-18 year old UK Youth Parliament members involved in the event on November 7, 2018 then voted to decide which two issues would become their priority campaigns for next year.
Paul Marshall, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It is wonderful that young people from this county were at the heart of this debate and represented their peers so well in a hugely successful day.”
In one of the largest youth consultations of its kind in UK history, this year’s Make Your Mark campaign saw 1,106,788 young people take part – with one in five of all 11-18 year olds voting.
In West Sussex a record 21,206 young people voted in the ballot, eclipsing last year’s by more than 6,000.
The top five UK issues debated were: put an end to knife crime; mental health; equal pay, equal work; tackling homelessness; votes at 16. Put an end to knife crime and votes at 16 won the vote and will be the chosen campaigns for UK Youth Parliament members to tackle in 2019.
West Sussex has four Youth Parliament members and four deputy members representing each area of the county, following elections in March 2018.