Sunderland teenagers join Westminster debate

Sunderland Members of the UK Youth Parliament Luwam Habte (left) and Brian Terry leaving Sunderland for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, London.
Sunderland Members of the UK Youth Parliament Luwam Habte (left) and Brian Terry leaving Sunderland for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, London.
  • Luwam Habte
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Members of Sunderland’s Youth Parliament headed for Westminster to join a national debate.

Elected by the young people of the city to represent their views, Brian Terry, 16, from Chapel Garth, and Luwam Habte, 17, from Washington, joined more than 300 of their colleagues at the House of Commons.

Sunderland Members of the UK Youth Parliament Luwam Habte (left) and Brian Terry leaving Sunderland for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, London.

Sunderland Members of the UK Youth Parliament Luwam Habte (left) and Brian Terry leaving Sunderland for the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, London.

This was the seventh year that young people have been invited into the chamber, to debate five issues, decided by 968,091 votes in the national Make Your Mark ballot.

The issues debated were the Living Wage, a curriculum to prepare young people for life, transport, mental health and tackling racism and religious discrimination.

MYPs are the only other group invited to hold session in the Debating Chamber of the House of Commons, and represent the views of young people from across England and Wales.

Young people are elected every two years, with every school and youth organisation in Sunderland invited to put forward candidates to represent the city.

We all have an important role to play.

Coun Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “We can all be very proud that young people in our city are so interested in getting involved in helping to shape the future of our city and our country in this way.”

Brian, a student at St Robert of Newminster Catholic School and Sixth Form College, said: “As a MYP for Sunderland, I am determined to have young people’s voices from my city heard.”

Fellow MYP and pupil at St Robert of Newminster, Luwam, said: “We all have an important role to play in shaping our country’s future and it’s important that our contribution is recognised at national, regional and community level at events such as these.”

Both of Sunderland’s MYPs are also members of the Sunderland Youth Parliament, which meets every Wednesday at Sunderland Civic Centre and is open for any young person aged between 11 and 18 to attend.

For more information, contactJane Wheeler at jane.wheeler@sunderland.gov.uk.