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Stephen Timms knows that young people are interested in politics and is offering another work placement

PUBLISHED: 15:49 03 January 2017

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It is often said that young people are apathetic about politics. It’s true that election turnout among younger people is lower than among older voters.

But young people I meet are keenly interested. They know we need to change things for the better in our community, and in the world.

Last month, Khadija Sethi from Langdon Academy was elected the 10th Young Mayor of Newham. More than 13,500 students voted.

Turnout was 76 per cent. Turnout has never been that high at any of the parliamentary elections I have stood in!

The two major referenda since 2014 – on Scottish Independence and Britain’s EU membership – have galvanised political debate. Young people know these decisions will shape their futures.

The vote on Scottish independence attracted very high voter turnout among young people.

It was the first election in the United Kingdom in which 16 and 17 year olds could vote, igniting national debate about the voting age in UK-wide elections.

I supported the campaign in Parliament to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the EU referendum. Unfortunately, the government refused.

In 2016, 12 enthusiastic 16 and 17-yearold Newham students gained first-hand experience at my Politics School. They worked with my office in Westminster, and observed civic life too. I’m repeating it in 2017.

Applications for the fourth Stephen Timms Politics School are now open. It will be in February half term, February 13 – 17, 2017.

London City Airport will support it again, so it will be completely free, with transport and lunches paid for. Participants will see Westminster from the inside, meet people involved and receive training. This year, for the first time, we will also go behind the scenes at City Hall.

Aged 16-18, and studying in Newham? For details and to apply
More from Stephen


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