A Fylde teenager has made his House of Commons debut.
Hal Meakin, 18, represented the North West at the UK Youth Parliament, which annually sits in the Commons to debate issues identified as key to young people.
Speaking at the Dispatch Box was amazingHal Meakin
A former student of Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College who now attends Lytham Sixth Form, Hal spoke on the living wage after being elected as a North West region debate lead.
Hal joined St Annes and Fylde Youth Councils at 14 and has been engaged in county and regional youth council ever since.
In February last year, he was elected as Youth Parliament member for Fylde and as a result, has been able to keep his St Annes colleagues fully informed about national campaigns such as Mind The Gap and Votes at 16.
Along with Hal’s topic of the living wage, other issues discussed at this year’s Youth Parliament were tackling racism and religious discrimination, mental health services, transport and a curriculum to prepare us for life.
All the topics came from Make Your Mark, the biggest youth consultation undertaken in the UK reaching almost a million young people.
Hal said: “Speaking at the Dispatch Box was amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I’ll never forget.
“Everyone who took part in the debates made fantastic contributions, very clear and well thought out and you could feel the enthusiasm in the room as all these young people worked together for one goal: getting their peers’ voices heard.
“I am so grateful to all those who trusted me to speak on behalf of the North West and even prouder to have done it representing Fylde.
“By being passionate enough and engaged enough, anyone can make a contribution to positively impact their community.”
Hal, who lives in St Annes, is currently studying biology, chemistry and physics at Lytham Sixth Form. He aims to specialise in medicine but said: “ I will always be interested in politics, so it is definitely something I can get involved with at a later date.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I remember the first time I had the privilege to speak in the Chamber of the House of Commons and it is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I have spoken to Hal on a number of occasions and sat on a panel with him during a General Election hustings at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College and he always strikes me as someone who is keen to learn more about issues, while passionately representing his own views.
“I am always pleased to see young people taking an interest in politics and things like the Youth Parliament offer them an important opportunity to get a feel for what it is like for MPs debating a range of topics in the House.”