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Young people debating in Parliament!

I love my job, but some bits I love more! Like taking over three huge rooms in The House of Commons and hosting young people from many different schools who all came to parliament to take part in debating competitions.

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The event is run by Debate Mate who organise debates in schools all over the country with a particular emphasis on schools in areas of disadvantage.

I sat in on two debates, one on votes at 16 and another on whether music with hateful language should be banned. Everything was there: passion, nerves, insight...and every now and then a poorly made point that let the side down.

I simply can't tell you how much I loved it. I wanted to punch the air when one 11 year old kid stood up and belted out an incredibly thoughtful point. And when one youngster got up, opened his mouth but stood in silence because his mind had gone blank, I wanted to run over and give him a hug! We've all been there.

I had the pleasure to speak to them all and say what it's like speaking in the Commons and how MP's go through everything they did. I said that each and every one of them has what it takes to become an MP so not to ever think it's something other people do but not them.

Business in the chamber of the Commons finished while the debates were on so I snuck down and spoke to the wonderful door keepers and security and told them who I was with upstairs. They very kindly kept the chamber open for me, and the students were totally over-the-moon when I told them. So I took the huge group around behind the scenes at the Commons and then into the chamber.

They all stood by the benches and I answered questions. One young woman asked why she couldn't sit on the green benches. I told her that sitting on the benches in the House of Commons is a privilege that only a community of voters can bestow on people, but that one day I hope she will return here and indeed sit down. I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

All the best, Peter

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