What's Happening in Kingston Upon Thames blog

Teenager sits in the House of Commons

Teenager Rhammel Afflick took his seat in the House of Commons to take part in an annual debate by the UK’s Youth Parliament.

Rhammel, 17, is Kingston’s representative on the Youth Parliament, which met in the House in November for a day of discussions.

He said: “It is important because it decides what issues we’ll be campaigning on next year based on the young people that voted.

“I think unlike most boroughs, Kingston does get a say because we have strong links with the youth council and some of the decision-makers in Kingston.”

The young people sat in seats normally reserved for the likes of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to debate five main issues.

The topics under discussion were Make Public Transport Cheaper, Better and Accessible for All; No to Tuition Fees, Yes to Graduate Tax; Zero Tolerance towards Bullying in Schools; End Child Poverty and A Greener Future for Britain.

They also debated bringing in a graduate tax as an alternative to tuition fees.

Rhammel, a student at Chessington Community College (CCC), said he felt strongly about the issue of public transport. He said that overcrowding on the 71 bus with CCC, Southborough and Tolworth students, was currently being taken to Transport for London on behalf of the youth council.

This event marked the finale of Parliament Week – a new annual national awareness week that aims to build greater awareness, understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK.

The debate was chaired by the Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, following opening remarks from the Leader of the House, Rt Hon Sir George Young MP, and Shadow Leader Maria Eagle MP. MYPs also met the Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP and the Leader of the Opposition, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP.

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