WOKING Youth Council visited the country’s most historic, political powerhouse, the Houses of Parliament, this month and gained an insight into the practical and democratic side of politics.
Members witnessed the action first hand as it unfolded in the House of Commons, including heated deb-ates and discussions between key political figures who ultimately make decisions for our country.
Woking Youth Council’s exciting day began with a tour of the iconic building, kindly conducted by staff from local MP Jonathan Lord’s office.
During the tour they saw statues of historic British political icons, such as Winston Churchill, who led the country to victory in the 1940s, and also Margaret Thatcher, the first ever woman to lead our country, from 1979 to 1990.
Their next stop was the hidden Chapel of St Mary’s Undercroft, which is embedded deep beneath the wonders of the Houses of Parliament. The Youth Council members also visited the ‘illegal hideout’ – a broom cupboard – where Emily Wilding Davidson, a leading suffragette, had hidden during 1911 to highlight the organisation’s determination and desperation to gain voting rights for women.
Apparently, Emily needed to prove that she was ‘living’ in the building to obtain the right to vote!
Afterwards, the youth councillors were given a presentation by Woking MP Jonathan Lord, followed by a questions and answers session.
Finally, with timing on their side, the councillors were able to watch a live debate in the House of Commons with Theresa May MP covering topics about the BBC and preventing terrorism.
Speaking about his experience, Woking Youth Councillor, Christian Matak, 16, said: “The Youth Council were proud to represent our borough and the young in the community.
“The opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament was both memorable and educational, and it was an interesting insight into the political workings of the country.”
Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Woking Youth Council, said: “These members are the borough’s potential leaders of the future, and they were keen to understand the political process and join the debate.
“With the help of Mr Lord, we arranged a trip to Parliament, followed by a Q&A session. It ultimately seems very fitting for them to watch and learn from high ranking MPs in the House of Commons.
On Tuesday evening Youth Councillors held a debate to discuss the site allocations plan – which is all about what Woking will look like in the future. They will now give their feedback via public consultation.
“Overall this was a great opportunity for our long standing Youth Councillors to get a taste of the real power of democracy, and to enhance their knowledge and understanding of British politics, current affairs and democracy in practise.”
Young residents, aged between 13 to 19 years old, with an interest in politics and current affairs, and who may also like to have a say on council decisions about youth services, facilities and initiatives, should consider joining Woking Youth Council.
Woking Youth Councillor, Yamna Eljamaly, added: “It’s easy to join – just go to www.woking.gov.uk/wokingyouthcouncil.
“I’ve been a member of the Youth Council for around 18 months and it opens doors and opportunities you will not get anywhere else.”