Young Sunderland politicians debate in Westminster

A general view of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.
A general view of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

Two Sunderland youngsters have been selected to debate a range of topics at Westminster as part of the national ‘Make your Mark’ ballot.

Thomas Crawford, 17, from Hastings Hill and Rachel Krajovska, 16, from Grangetown, were the two Sunderland members of youth parliament (MYP’s) selected for the event that took place on Thursday, November 10.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the debate has taken place.

MYP’s are elected every two years and are the only group apart from MP’s invited to debate in the house of commons and represent young people’s views from across England and Wales.

The topics that were debated were selected by over 900,000 voters.

These include: addressing issues with race and discrimination; keeping public transport cheap and easy to use; tackling issues of race and discrimination; reducing cuts to the NHS and allowing votes for 16-year olds.

Portfolio holder for children’s services, Councillor Louise Farthing said: “I’m sure our MYP’s will do the young people of our city proud, and represent their views and interests on the national political stage to the best of their abilities.

“Young people need to have a political voice, and where better to have it heard than in Westminster.”

MYP for Sunderland Thomas Crawford, a pupil at St. Aidan’s Catholic Academy, said: “I’m excited to be getting the honour of sitting and possibly speaking in front of the green benches, I think its becoming more and more important for politicians to listen to and act on the views of young people – especially with uncertain times ahead.”

Fellow MYP Rachel Krajovska and student at Durham 6th Form Centre, said: “I’m incredibly looking forward to the experience of going to the house of commons.

“The fact we were provided with this opportunity highlights how key it is to move forward in the progress of making sure young people have a voice to listened to.”

After the debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons the Rt. Hon John Bercow, the MYP’s will vote on which of the topics of debate will become their national campaign for the year 2017.

Both of Sunderland’s MYPs are also members of the Sunderland Youth Parliament which meets every Wednesday at Sunderland Civic Centre and is open for any young person aged between 11 and 18 to attend.

For more information on how to get involved with the Sunderland and UK Youth Parliament please contact Sunderland City Council, Children’s Service’s Participation and Engagement Lead, Jane Wheeler at

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