Oldham youth have their voices heard at the House of Commons

Roshni Parmar-Hill reflects on a trip to the Houses of Parliament to talk about votes at 16.

Roshni, left and Samah outside the Houses of Parliament in London

On November 9, Samah Khalil and I went to the Houses of Parliament in London to debate what should be the national campaign for UK Youth Parliament this year.

Annually Oldham gets schools and colleges involved in a national survey called Make Your Mark, which looks at the main priorities that concern young people across the country. This year the UK collected over one million ballots, the highest turnout thus far.

As representatives from Oldham, Samah and I were ready to take on the green chairs in the House of Commons.

This year marked the centenary since some women got the chance to vote in General Elections; as part of the celebrations some young people were chosen to represent their region by sharing stories about women who helped the suffrage movement.

Samah was chosen to speak on behalf of the North West. Her speech centred on the work of local girl Annie Kenney who was part of the WSPU.

Samah spoke fantastically sparking a standing ovation; Oldham has truly gone down in history!

I was also fortunate enough to participate in the debate by supporting the campaign for votes at 16.

I saw it fitting that UKYP should continue the fight for a fair franchise 100 years after women got the vote.

More than ever young people need their voices to be heard as our country heads into a future which will be ours to live with.

Amazingly, the speeches attracted the attention of the BBC as Samah and I appeared on Sunday Politics and North West Tonight, promoting the campaign for votes at 16.

Our experience in Parliament was one that will hopefully inspire change for young people across Britain as we take our passions forward this year because Votes at 16 became one of the national campaigns for UKYP.

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