Use of the Chamber (United Kingdom Youth Parliament)
Industry and Exports (Financial Support) Bill
Christopher Chope (Christchurch, Conservative)
I hope that the hon. Lady will have a chance to make her own speech in a minute. It is the same with any tradition when people ask, "What would be the harm?" I think that the harm would lie in sending out a message from this Parliament that we were indulging the Youth Parliament and patronising young people in an unhealthy way by leading them to believe that an equivalence existed between being members of a mock parliament and being Members of a real Parliament. There is all the difference in the world between a mock parliament and a real Parliament.
We know that the other place set a precedent when it allowed the final of the English-Speaking Union debating competition to take place in its Chamber. It allowed that once and decided that it would not do so again. Last year, the Youth Parliament was held there and, as I understand it, will not be invited back. I do not know whether that is an answer to the question from Kerry McCarthy, but she might well ask the same question when she brings a group of young people to visit the Palace. What harm would it do if she sat them down on the Front Bench and she went to sit on the Speaker's Chair? It probably would not do any physical harm, but either access to and use of this place is restricted to a particular group of individuals or it is not. If the Youth Parliament could come here, why should that be allowed for only one year? Why are the Government not proposing that every other organisation that wants to make a bid should be able to come here as well?