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Use of the Chamber (Youth Parliament)

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 5:40 pm on 12th March 2009.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield 5:40 pm, 12th March 2009

We have just heard a diatribe from Martin Salter, which did not add anything at all to the debate. I was particularly taken, however, with the intervention by Mr. Browne, because the matters that he raised have not, in fact, been properly addressed.

May I say to the House that I have taken legal advice informally, and I am advised that if we set a precedent of enabling people who are not elected to this place to meet in this place, a precedent will be set? A precedent will be set if the House decides to take that decision. The hon. Member for Taunton referred to a number of organisations, such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the women's institute—he could have mentioned the National Pensioners Convention. I ask the Deputy Leader of the House why he does not believe that the people in this country who turn out most in elections—namely, the grey vote—should have as equal an opportunity as the Youth Parliament to have a meeting in this place. They are a very important part of this country.

By the way, the UK Youth Parliament represents only a small number of young people in the United Kingdom. I know this because in my own county of Cheshire, I have taken a very active interest in the UK Youth Parliament. Along with my wife— my hon. Friend Ann Winterton who represents Congleton—and other Members of Parliament representing Cheshire constituencies, I have attended the annual gatherings of the Youth Parliament in county hall in Chester. We have met many of the representatives who have been elected in their particular areas.

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