Helensburgh and Lomond Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Katie Burke, was one of over 300 young people welcomed into the House of Commons for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament.
This event marked the launch of Parliament Week – an annual national awareness week which aims to build greater awareness, understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK. This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the UK Youth Parliament sitting in the Commons Chamber, the only group other than MPs allowed to sit on the green benches.
Chair of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee, Councillor Gary Mulvaney, said, “Katie is a marvellous ambassador for young people in Helensburgh and Lomond, and indeed Argyll and Bute. She takes her role as Member of the Youth Parliament very seriously and I congratulate her on being one of only twelve Youth Parliament members from all over Scotland to be invited to this prestigious event.”
Presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Members of Youth Parliament aged 11-18 took part in five debates. Of the five topics, ‘Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections’ was voted as the Youth Parliament UK-wide campaign issue for 2014.
The council’s Policy Lead for Community and Culture, Councillor Robin Currie, said, “Speaking as someone who has had an interest in local and national politics for many years it is heartening to see young people becoming involved as such an early age. Their views and actions will play a part in the development of their communities as well as feeding in to national issues. I wish Katie and her Youth Parliament colleagues well.”
Katie said, “It was a fantastic experience that really saw young people from all walks of life come together and debate on the issues that mattered to them most. This is the engaged generation, the passion and the words of every speaker told the story of what it's really like to be a young person in Britain today."