4 November 2022
The UK Youth Parliament met today, Friday 4 November 2022, for a debate in the House of Commons in London. This is the eleventh time the Youth Parliament has sat in the House of Commons for a debate, with the first being in 2009.
The event is organised every year by the British Youth Council. Delegates are selected from elections across the UK, involving up to 500,000 people aged between 11 and 18 years old. More than 240 students representing every corner of the UK took their places on the House of Commons green benches to contribute to the annual UK Youth Parliament session.
Notably, this year saw the first ever session of the UK Youth Parliament to feature the Overseas Territories.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is allocated a 30 minute session during each Youth Parliament sitting. This year, he kindly extended an invitation to young people from the Overseas Territories to come and address the Youth Parliament on the subject of ‘the most important issue effecting young people from my territory’.
Kelly Yon, currently studying in the UK, represented St Helena and spoke at the dispatch box on the floor of the House of Commons on the issue of education. It was also broadcast live online through www.parliamentlive.tv.
Kelly was among eight representatives of the Overseas Territories invited to participate in the annual gathering. The others included Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Montserrat.
Among the other topics the young representatives raised during the day-long sitting were being at the sharp end of climate change, a lack of opportunity and a housing crisis.
Sir Lindsay said:
“It was about time we heard from our friends in the extended part of our United Kingdom family – and the UK Youth Parliament event offered them the perfect platform. For too long I have felt the British Overseas Territories have been overlooked, yet so many of the decisions we make here in the UK have a huge impact on their futures. It was inspiring to hear about the issues that affect young people in the overseas territories and their experiences. I am sure we all learnt a lot from their contributions.”
Speaking on her participation at this year’s event, Kelly Yon, said:
“This opportunity has been an honourable one, speaking in the House of Commons has been a privilege to voice the opinions of St Helena’s youth and I hope the views posed today are heard and taken on board.”
Chief Secretary, Susan O’Bey, who also attended the session said:
“It was fantastic to see Kelly stood at the despatch box box addressing the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons. To see someone from St Helena address the House from the same spot that so many Prime Ministers of the UK have stood before, was very special. This was an excellent opportunity for Kelly.”
Notes to Editors:
Sir Lindsay Hoyle aims to use his Speakership to give a voice to the 14 British Overseas Territories, which are located from the Pitcairn Islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean to the British Indian Ocean Territory almost 10,000 miles away.
Earlier this year he welcomed his counterparts from Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and a representative from Gibraltar, took part in the first ever Speaker-led conference.
Security, climate change, and how Overseas Territories can get their voice heard in the UK Parliament were among topics under discussion.
#StHelena #YouthParliament #UKYP
4 November 2022