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Youth MP candidates step up to plate

20 January, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Esah Bannister, Ella von Baeyer and Aseel Al-nakib

A NEW batch of young people have thrown their hats into the ring to be Westminster’s next Youth MP. The candidates include 17-year-old Ulis Sekiraqa from Westminster Academy, Ella von Baeyer, 15, from Godolphin & Latymer School, Zubair Mahmood, 17, from Pimlico Academy, Aseel Al-nakib (Aziz), 16, from King Solomon Academy, Gabriel Walsh, 18, from the London Nautical School, Isobel Preece, 15, from South Hampstead High School and Esah Bannister, 16, from Harris Westminster Sixth Form.

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Gabriel Walsh, Hamza Taouzzale and Isobel Preece

The winner will take over from 17-year-old Hamza Taouzzale on February 27 as the voice of young people in the borough. During his time in the role, Hamza, from King Solomon Academy, had the chance to speak at the House of Commons after campaigning to join the UK Youth Parliament, alongside most other youth MPs in the country. The next youth MP will also be a fully fledged member of youth parliament. Hamza said it had been “amazing” to represent the young people in his community. “It’s been good to meet so many people, to actually help people and I guess I enjoyed making positive changes,” he said.

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Mohammed Awale, Ulis Sekiraqa and Zubair Mahmood

“Being Youth MP has meant that I have learned so much and it has set me up really well for my future. My next step hopefully would of course be to stay heavily involved with the council to make sure young people are represented.” Ulis Sekiraqa, who has lived in the Harrow Road area his whole life, said in a campaign statement: “I would also look at gangs, and assess opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills and engage in local communities more productively.” Challenging him for the position is Mohammed Awale, also 17, from King Solomon Academy, who wants the role to ensure young people have their views properly represented. He said: “Growing up in a ward that is part of the top 10 per cent poorest wards in London, I believe that young people don’t get the chance to meet their representatives or have a real say in issues that could affect them in later life.” Voting opens on January 30 and runs until February 24 and a decision will be announced at a ceremony at City Hall on February 27.

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