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.
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.” —Ends—
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