On National Democracy Week, Parliamentarians must be the ambassadors of our democracy
National Democracy Week offers an opportunity to connect with and inspire under-represented groups. Chloe Smith explains how MPs and peers can get involved
This year is a milestone in our Parliament’s history —- one hundred years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 — the Act of Parliament which gave some voting rights to women for the first time. As part of the celebrations, and to mark the 90th anniversary of all women getting the right to vote, the Cabinet Office and partners will be holding National Democracy Week from 2-8 July.
As Minister for the Constitution, I will be using the opportunity of democracy being in the limelight to connect under-registered groups, such as young people, with the democracy that serves them.
Parliamentarians are the ambassadors of our democracy, the embodiment of the principle of representation and a vital connection between people and Parliament.
With that in mind, I am pleased to offer a new resource pack for Parliamentarians to help encourage democratic engagement and participation amongst your young constituents.
The toolkit is full of ideas to help reach some of the youngest constituents. It will contain high quality, easy to use, short activities that have been developed with the input of the intended audience —13 to 16 year olds — as well as Parliamentarians. This resource can be used to support the existing engagement Parliamentarians do with this age group to help them understand the work of MPs, peers and the Houses of Parliament.
I ask all parliamentarians to aspire to use this toolkit and run an activity from it in your constituencies this year, including during National Democracy Week. Please share your stories from these activities on social media using the hashtags #talkdemocracy and #democracyweek18.
To access the pack or find out more information about National Democracy Week, please visit our website at democracyweek.campaign.gov.uk. You can also register your events on this website — it only takes five minutes and will mean even more people know you are out in your community making a difference.
I hope you find the resources useful when engaging with young people who are not eligible to vote and for who democracy may not yet be a priority.
For many their first introduction to democracy may be a visit or talk by their local representative. It has the potential to be a powerful moment and we want to support you in making that connection positive and memorable.
Chloe Smith is Conservative MP for Norwich North and Minister for the Constitution