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Use of the Chamber (Youth Parliament)

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 5:27 pm on 12th March 2009.

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Photo of Martin Salter Martin Salter Labour, Reading West 5:27 pm, 12th March 2009

I think that we are witnessing the first tremors of apoplexy from the hon. Gentleman. The minutes of the report that I cited clearly show that the membership of the Modernisation Committee in 2003-04 included him. The report includes recommendation 9 about reviewing the case for reserving use of the Chamber for elected Members of Parliament, and the minutes also show that there was no Division. It is therefore disingenuous for members of that Committee to claim that the matter was not discussed and that they sought to oppose the recommendation.

There are times when I am proud to be a Member of the House and there are times when I am slightly saddened. I am sad when young people are patronised and an organisation as worthy as the UK Youth Parliament is traduced in the way that some hon. Members have tried to do. The UK Youth Parliament is an excellent institution. I grew up in the '60s and '70s, when young people were energised by the political process. A lot of us feel despair at the lack of turnout and engagement among young people in the party political process and in the general political process. For us, as a Parliament, to be shutting our doors on a small group of young people who wish to participate and engage in our democratic process is disgraceful.

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