A teenager is preparing to represent Hartlepool during a debate in the House of Commons.
Helen Lamb will join more than 300 elected members of the UK Youth Parliament for the national debate, which is due to take place in London this Friday and be broadcast live on BBC Parliament.
The 18-year-old is taking part because she is Hartlepool’s Member of the Youth Parliament (MYP).
The debate, which will decide the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaign for 2013, will be chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP.
It will focus on the top five issues chosen by more than 250,000 young people in the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark ballot, held earlier this year.
Helen, from Naisberry Park, said: “I am really looking forward to heading down to London and taking part in the debate.
“This is a wonderful opportunity and a really proud moment for me.
“I’m sure it will be an interesting day and it is a privilege to be able to take part in a debate inside the House of Commons.
“The issues up for debate all affect young people in Hartlepool,” added the teenager, who studies politics, history and RE at Hartlepool Sixth Form College and is a former pupil at High Tunstall College of Science.
Helen was voted in as MYP in March after beating competition from 11 other candidates.
As part of the national programme, Helen will be invited to attend regional meetings, residential weekends and visit the House of Commons.
At the end of the five debates, members of Youth Parliament will vote to decide which issue will become their national campaign for 2013.
The five issues up for debate are:
l Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all
l Getting ready for work
l Marriage for all
l An equal National Minimum Wage for all
l A curriculum to prepare young people for life.
Each topic will be introduced with speeches from regionally elected MYPs, who will put forward arguments for and against before opening up to the floor.
Each MYP in the Chamber will vote for their top issue, with ballot papers collected and counted by House of Commons staff and the result announced by the Speaker at the end.
The debate marks the end of Parliament Week, an annual national awareness week which aims to build greater understanding and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK.
It is the fourth time the UK Youth Parliament has debated in the House of Commons Chamber and it is the only group, other than MPs, allowed to do so.