How Brexit will effect education, the economy and voting at 16 were among the subjects discussed during Monmouthshire Youth Parliament’s heated first event.
Organised by Beth from Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and Jack from Monmouth School, the debate attracted a packed audience of under 18s at the Shire Hall on Friday evening.
Conservative MP David Davies and Monmouth Labour Party member, Catherine Fookes, were guest speakers and answered a range of challenging questions from the young crowd.
Catherine, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, was delighted to see so many teens turn out for the event.
She said: “The Monmouthshire Youth Parliament is a brilliant idea. It’s so important for young people to learn how to debate and share their views respectfully.
“I voted Remain but I’m here tonight because I want the best for Brexit – what do we want Brexit to look like?”
Sixth former and Labour Party member, Beth, and Year 11 pupil, Jack, founded the youth parliament in the summer holidays to give local schoolchildren an opportunity to voice their views and share their ideas.
Carefully considered and thought-provoking questions from opinionated pupils proved how engaged young people in Monmouthshire are with politics.
MP David Davies told them: “I’m here because I like doing these sorts of things. We have to look after the public and be willing to deal with difficult questions sometimes.”
Following the debate, the MP praised the organising committee for arranging such a successful inaugural meeting.
“I was delighted to take part in the debate on Brexit and congratulate the youth parliament for providing a much-needed political voice to the young people of Monmouthshire,” he said.
“Young people wanted to know when we will actually leave. The answer is that we could simply tear up the treaties and leave immediately.
“Instead of doing this, the government has responsibly decided to spend a few months working through issues with the rest of the EU. We will then trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal mechanism for beginning the process of rescinding our membership, which the Prime Minister has indicated is likely to happen in early 2017.”
MYP’s next event, which is open exclusively to under 18s, will focus on this topic in more detail.
Beth and Jack are looking for local school pupils who would like to speak on the subject.
To get involved, find the youth parliament on Twitter @MonmouthshireMYP