Students park public transport at the centre of the political agenda

08 Nov 2011 15:32:00.457

PA 348/11

Students from The University of Nottingham have urged the government to make public transport “cheaper, better and accessible to all” following the third annual UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) debate in the House of Commons.

Jamie Davies (Law) and James Potts (Politics) led an impassioned call for the government to improve public transport ahead of motions on student finance, bullying in schools, child poverty and the green economy.

Following a nationwide poll of 65,000 young people and the subsequent vote in the House of Commons, also attended by fellow first year student Michael Olatokun (Law), the betterment of public transport is now the priority campaign for the UKYP in 2011/12.

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As a result young people across the UK will now campaign and lobby for action, while Speaker John Bercow, who chaired the event, pledged to draw it to the attention of the transport secretary.

The student’s main argument centred on the importance that public transport plays in the lives of the eight million people the UKYP represents and the need to make it more accessible on their behalf.

When opening the debate, Jamie Davies from Heathfield and MYP for East Sussex, explained: “Transport affects every young person, whether it is getting to your job, school, college or the doctors; public transport forms a pillar in the lives of young people.

“Too often it seems that we are happily accepted as adults when it comes to parting with our pounds but treated like kids when it comes to having our say in matters that affect us. It is for this reason and for the problems I have outlined — price, consistency and access — that we need to deal with public transport in a constructive and logical way.”

After the debate James Potts, originally from Wolverhampton, said: “Just to be in that chamber representing young people was an amazing opportunity, which will be with me for the rest of my life.

I would love to return to speak in the chamber as an adult MP one day. No doubt speaking in the House of Commons aged 18 live on national TV will help. I met Ed Miliband on the day and I am sure that many senior MPs will have seen the debates, hopefully they will remember my name.”

The experience was backed by James’ tutor and Professor of Parliamentary Government, Philip Cowley.

Professor Cowley said: “For a first year student, James is already a very accomplished public speaker. Speaking at the Despatch box in the House of Commons is something that even many MPs don’t manage to achieve; after that, there are very few audiences that will seem intimidating.”


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Notes to editors: UKYP is run by young people for young people. We provide a unique platform that enables young people to use their energy and passion to change the world for the better. Having engaged hundreds of thousands of 1-8 year olds over the last 10 years, UKYP gives the young people of the UK a powerful voice which is heard and listened to by local and national government, providers of services for young people and other agencies who have an interest in the views and needs of young people.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit:  

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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Story credits

Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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