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Students grill MPs in Newham Youth Question Time at Town Hall

PUBLISHED: 17:09 30 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:09 30 January 2015

Newham Youth Question Time, with Det Supt Ian Lardner, Lyn Brown MP, Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz and Stephen Timms MP,

Newham Youth Question Time, with Det Supt Ian Lardner, Lyn Brown MP, Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz and Stephen Timms MP,

Archant

Students had the chance to grill their members of parliament in the run-up to the general election at Newham Youth Question Time at the Town Hall.

From left: Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz, student Ekta Pabari, Stephen Timms MP, Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, Lyn Brown MP, student Nilufa Ahmed, Det Supt Ian Lardner, (in front) student Murad Shaikh.From left: Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz, student Ekta Pabari, Stephen Timms MP, Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, Lyn Brown MP, student Nilufa Ahmed, Det Supt Ian Lardner, (in front) student Murad Shaikh.

A panel of speakers, including MPs Stephen Timms and Lyn Brown, fielded students’ questions sent in by email and took questions from the floor.

Last night’s event was modelled on the BBC’s Question Time programme and chaired by Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, with Newham Det Supt Ian Lardner and Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz on the panel.

It began with a video about a young person in Newham preparing to vote for the first time in May, and a reminder for students over 16 to register to vote.

Then the panel discussion covered crime, immigration, tuition fees, disability, childhood obesity, apprenticeships, domestic violence, terrorism, and boosting the number of black, ethnic minority and women in certain jobs.

Stephen Timms, who helped organise the event, answering a question about unemployment, said: “We need to increase the amount people are paid.

“The national minimum wage has not kept up with price rises in recent years.”

Lyn Brown called for the voting age to be lowered to 16, saying: “It might show us even more that young people are interested.”

Det Supt Lardner spoke about getting young people out of gangs.

Nilufa Ahmed, a student at Brampton Manor Academy from East Ham, said: “I think I’m a bit more informed now about my local area.

“It’s good to actually hear your elected politicians. They have lots of ideas.”

When asked what stood out for her, she said “employment” and local jobs, because: “I really want to stay in Newham.”

Mr Timms called the event a great success, adding: “I was hugely impressed by the questions that the young people put to the panel.

“It demonstrated that young people in Newham are engaged in politics and that they can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked by those that represent them.”


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