WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

I want to change people’s lives, says new Youth MP

Hamza Taouzzale will go to House of Commons for youth debate after all

12 November, 2016 — By Alina Polianskaya

Hamza Taouzzale: ‘I do want to become an MP’

WESTMINSTER’S young people will have a voice in the House of Commons for the first time in six years after the council reversed its “bizarre” decision to not field a “Youth MP” in parliament.

Hamza Taouzzale, who lives in Church Street, had called on the council earlier this year to reverse its 2010 decision. The council had said the costs of supporting a Youth MP to join the Youth Parliament outweighed the value to young people.

But it has now changed its position, following a vote by the youth council, and Hamza will join a debate with other youth MPs today (Friday) where he will speak about religious discrimination and a better curriculum.

On Wednesday, the 16-year-old gave a speech at the full council meeting in Porchester Hall, to all the borough’s councillors.

He told the meeting: “In the future, I do want to become a councillor, I do want to become an MP and I do want to change other people’s lives be­cause I see what’s happening as a first-hand experience. I live in Church Street, it is a ward that has had its problems over the years. It is a really difficult area to grow up in. It’s tough. You see people who get stabbed, unfortunately. You see people who get killed. You know these people who have been arrested… but then again you see those young people that do have a positive side to them.

“Not everyone is the same. There are people who really want to become great, there are people who want to become leaders, like you.”

He added: “When I go on to debate in the House of Commons with all the other youth MPs in the UK, the two main issues I am going to bring up, that were voted on by almost a million young people, are to tackle religious discrimination and to set up a curriculum to get us prepared for life – for example, paying taxes and all that fun stuff that we have to do.

“What I want to put to the council is just to say I need your help just as much you need my help – and I know you need my help.”

Lord Mayor of Westminster Steve Summers thanked Hamza for his speech, adding: “You are welcome any time, we don’t want you to limit it to once a year, you are very, very welcome. You said you would love to be a councillor and an MP – please do it. It is an amazing experience. Don’t be put off by all these old bitter faces… and the bitter young ones too.”

Labour councillor Tim Roca, who was part of a campaign to send the Youth MP to parliament, told West End Extra: “I’m very happy that lobbying by Labour’s Youth Task group led to Westminster reversing its bizarre position that saw a Youth MP elected, but then didn’t pay for them to attend the actual Youth Parliament.

“Myself and other Labour councillors look forward to working with Hamza on standing up for young people during his term of office.”

 

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