Youth councillor from Harrogate speaks out in Westminster

28 November 2012

One of North Yorkshire’s youth councillors, Lizzie Callinan, kicked off the annual debate of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons last week, in a speech supporting cheaper and more accessible public transport for young people.

Lizzie, from Harrogate, was joined by two of her fellow youth councillors, Emily Nicholas, Richmond, and Liam Cutler, Northallerton, as representatives for North Yorkshire in the annual debate to choose the UK Youth Parliament’s annual campaign issue for 2013.

On the agenda for the day last Friday were the five top issues decided upon in a 250,000-strong ballot by young people across the country earlier in the year:

Make public transport cheaper and more accessible for all;

  • Getting ready for work;
  • Marriage for all;
  • An equal national minimum wage;
  • A curriculum to prepare us for life.


Emily Nicholas (Richmond); Liam Cutler (Northallerton) and Lizzie Callinan (Harrogate) outside Westminster last week
Emily Nicholas (Richmond); Liam Cutler (Northallerton) and Lizzie Callinan (Harrogate) outside Westminster last week



Lizzie said

It was a massive honour to speak in the debate, especially first, and on the issue which had been most voted for, not only by our constituents but nationally. It was a humbling and inspiring experience.


Emily Nicholas who spoke out about the education system and its role in producing respectful, hard-working and confident young people said:

That moment was both the most terrifying and most exhilarating moment of my life. I’m proud of, not just myself, but of all the young people who contributed and proved that we are capable of expressing our views in a balanced, articulate and positive manner.

The debate was chaired by Speaker of the House of Commons Rt Hon John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament. It is the fourth time that the UK Youth Parliament has debated in the House of Commons Chamber and they are the only group, other than MPs, allowed to do so.

County Councillor Arthur Barker, Executive Member for Youth Services, commented:

The UK Youth Parliament is an excellent way of young people being heard and it’s marvellous that they can experience the cut and thrust of their debates in such a celebrated setting.

For more information on youth councils and the UK Youth Parliament, visit or call James Parkes on 01609 533932.


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