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To honour Sir David Amess’ legacy, we must make the Children’s Parliament a success

To honour Sir David Amess’ legacy, we must make the Children’s Parliament a success
4 min read

Sir David Amess knew our Parliament was the best in the world and was passionate about the importance of democracy.

He saw it as a vital instrument for the betterment of all, so much so that he was in the process of championing the UK’s first Children’s Parliament for primary school students when he was tragically taken from us last year.

The first Children’s Parliament 2021 was held on the eve of COP26 and debated environmental issues. The second was held earlier this year in May, with the main topic up for discussion being “How Do We Make The World A Safer Place?” with reference to the online safety of young people.

After winning the by-election earlier this year, I am determined to build upon his legacy and have committed myself to increasing the scope and success of the Children’s Parliament. After two successful virtual junior parliaments, I hope to secure the House of Commons chamber for a live debate.

As many as 650 primary school children, matched to their MP counterparts, would sit upon the famous green benches this October to mark the anniversary of Sir David’s murder and honour his legacy. His passion for democracy continues to permeate every corner of our society and it’s my absolute pleasure and duty to carry that flame.

Sir David's passion for democracy continues to permeate every corner of our society

It makes me so incredibly proud to see hundreds of child MPs banding together to tackle the biggest societal issues of our time – it’s safe to say, our future is in good hands. I think 650 youngsters debating the issues of the day in our Parliament will resonate with everyone and give the children an experience they will never forget.

The Children’s Parliament has also won backing from a series of big parliamentary names, including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has pledged to stay involved, as have several other colleagues from all sides of the House.

The inaugural headteacher champion Peter Spencer-Lane, from the Saint Pierre School, is dedicated to the project ongoing as is Saint Pierre School based in Leigh-on-Sea, in the Southend West constituency. The Advisory Board includes Daily Express editor Gary Jones, as chairman, and Andrew Fox, chairman of the Trustees of Don Hanson Charitable Foundation.

The initiative is exactly the kind of thing post-Brexit Britain should be championing – inspiring our children to take control of their future and fight for the common good.
This special session of Parliament will be live-streamed on all the Daily Express social media channels via Wakelet and Microsoft365.

Katie Amess, Sir David’s eldest daughter, now the Patron of the Children’s Parliament, will travel from her home in Los Angeles and support the event. As Katie has said: “This is an incredible initiative, whereby children of primary school age can discuss adult issues and send their views directly to the heart of the British Parliament. From the absolute tragedy of my father's death, we must ensure that democracy and freedom of speech prevail.”

The third annual virtual event will be held in May 2023 and there are also plans to set up Children's Parliament select committees on water sustainability, amongst other topics. Children are also researching ideas around the draft climate change primary school curriculum.

I personally will also be supporting a plan to launch a Sir David Amess Children’s Parliament All-Party Parliamentary Group. MPs and primary schools interested in getting involved in the Sir David Amess Children's Parliament can find more information here. A dedicated website for the live Parliament launches at the beginning of September.

I hope to see colleagues across both Houses stand by me as we build a vital mechanism of democracy for our young people, who one day will walk the very corridors we do now.

 

Anna Firth is the Conservative MP for Southend West.

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