A Hartlepool teenager wants to help shape the town’s politics after experiencing her first day in the House of Commons.
Lauren Howells, 17, delivered a speech on the Magna Carta in the hallowed chamber in front of more than 300 people.
On top of that, there was a television audience as the whole thing was being screened on BBC Parliament.
She admitted: “I was really nervous at the time but I think it went really well.”
Her big day has given her a taste for more. Lauren added: “This was an opportunity that comes around once in your life. I would like to be a barrister, but I do want to keep on in politics.”
Lauren is a member of the Youth Parliament (MYP) for Hartlepool and it gave her the prestigious honour of being able to speak from the despatch box.
This was an opportunity that comes around once in your life. I would like to be a barrister but I do want to keep on in politicsLauren Howells
Lauren studies at Hartlepool Sixth Form college and was chosen from all MYPs in the region to deliver her speech in the chamber.
She got to meet the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, and later did some sightseeing at Buckingham Palace and Leicester Square.
Speaking about her experience in the Commons, she added: “I was speaking for about two minutes and I had written a speech which I had to send to a selection panel to get to this stage.
“I have done public speaking before but only at school.”
Lauren joined other members of the UK Youth Parliament, who were all debating a range of topical issues, including the need for improved mental health services and tackling racist and religious discrimination.
They also marked the 750th anniversary of the Magna Carta through a discussion of what its principles mean to young people today.
The Youth Parliament, sitting for its sixth year in the House of Commons Chamber, heralds the start of Parliament week, which runs until November 22.
It includes a UK-wide programme of events that inspire, engage and connect people with parliamentary democracy.