parliament

This year’s Young People’s Question Time, hosted by the Hansard Society, was a well-attended and informative meeting. About 200 young folk- ranging from primary school pupils to twenty-something professionals- braved a lengthy queue and the brisk November weather to view the clash of ideas in Portcullis House, situated directly opposite the Palace of Westminster.

EVENT SUMMARY (Audience) | EVENT SUMMARY (Hansard)

Full Video of Young Person’s Question Time: 

INTERVIEW WITH NADHIM ZAHAWI MP

Question for Dr. Julian Hubbert, Liberal MP.

How do you view the problem of youth unemployment?

Lots of employers and young people have been complaining that they have a qualification but no real work experience. We encourage companies to take apprentices and there is a funding scheme available for that. In Spain one in two young people are out of work. In the UK we inherited an economic car crash when we came into office. We had to make some tough decisions. We had to cut the size of government and many areas related to the public sector. It is difficult, but we have really tried to drive the private sector side. Over half a million apprenticeships have been created since we came to power. So there is a long way to go but I think we are on the right track.

Questions for Natasha Engel. Labour MP.

Do you believe that the lack of political education in schools is one of the main issues in tackling apathy amongst youth ?

I think in some schools it is. In some schools it is taken seriously and in others regarded as something that does not need to be taught. I have a very rural constituency, about 54 schools. I try to go to each one of them and engage with all ages between 5-18. If the MP would visit one year group in each school at least once a year, it would make a big difference. There are also some schools that do not want to invite politicians because they are afraid of kids being influenced to vote in a certain way. This is hardly the case and it would turn people off very quickly. But it is important to explain why it is important to understand politics.

Why is it important to engage very young children in politics?

If the children are five years old, I talk to them about Big Ben. It is important that they understand the importance of politics, but they do not necessarily have to be engaged in it. If the children are fourteen or older, they should understand the importance of voting. More older people vote than younger people. This means that the pension scheme is on top of government agenda instead of the issues of the youth. If young people are disengaged, they have very little influence over making and changing policies.

Young Person’s Question Time, Audience Comments:

Who did you ask questions from?

I did not ask questions. I just made a statement to a conservative MP regarding voting at the age of sixteen. I said that young people were not mature enough at that age to vote. I got a good response from the audience. But the general opinion was supportive of voting at the age of sixteen.

Vanessa, what will you take away from today?

I believe that there should be more women in politics. I heard from my friend that a women at the age of 32 is a shadow minister. That is very impressive.

Are there any future politicians?

Well, I am passionate about politics and women in terms of feminism. I would like to increase social equality. I would like to be an MP or even a prime minister in the future.

John Foster, what will you take away from today’ s event?

I am impressed by the informative debate and interaction the young people showed towards politics. A lot of young people also seemed to be very informed and knowledegable. And so many people turned up.

What did you think of the event?

It was very useful. It gave me a lot of insight of what is going on in politics. Politics might be improved by MPs making the issues more known in Parliament.