Our Parliament has a rich tradition, spanning nearly 750 years and yet it is a working Parliament for modern Britain.
This complex combination of traditions and modern life means it is vital we inspire citizens to engage and connect with parliamentary democracy. British people across the ages fought for and in some cases died for what we, sometimes, take for granted: democracy. Which is why I am delighted to support Parliament Week, a UK-wide programme of events and activities running from 15 to 21 November.
For some people Parliament Week will be the start of their life-long relationship with democracy. Indeed, one of the events during the week that I particularly enjoy is the UK Youth Parliament’s annual sitting in the House of Commons Chamber. It is always a lively session and I never fail to be impressed by the articulate and considered debates from the Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs). This year the MYPs are debating subjects which have been chosen by nearly 500,000 young people – youth unemployment, bullying, votes at 16, a curriculum for life and opportunities for better work experience.
There is something special about seeing the House of Commons Chamber packed full of young people, all passionately debating the issues that are important to them; passionate but respectful to their fellow MYPs. Those who think that young people don’t care about politics should just watch the broadcast on BBC Parliament of the UK Youth Parliament!
Each year Parliament Week grows from strength to strength. It’s great to see the variety of organisations across the UK participating and the hundreds of events that will celebrate, discuss and probe Parliament and democracy. The quality and variety of events taking place is astounding.
I’d like to thank each organisation for their time and commitment to making the week a success. I hope that many more people will be inspired to find out more about what happens in Westminster, in their local community and about the many ways they can make their voices heard by participating in Britain’s democracy.
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