Youth parliament member Toby Jeffery set to speak in House of Commons

Toby Jeffery, who will speak in the House of Commons.

Toby Jeffery, who will speak in the House of Commons.

A young Suffolk politician is set to be the first Member of the Youth Parliament from the county to speak at the dispatch box in the House of Commons.

Toby Jeffery, 17, is MYP for the Bury St Edmunds constituency, which includes Stowmarket and Needham Market, and was voted by fellow MYPs from the East of England to represent the region as Debate Lead.

The Bury County Upper School sixth-former will be speaking at the annual UK Youth Parliament at the Houses of Parliament on Friday, November 13.

“It is a real honour and privilege,” he said. “I will be arguing for, against or in summation of one of five issues chosen by more than 900,000 young people across the country in the Make Your Mark ballot.

“I can’t wait, it is incredibly exciting and I am counting down the days. The Make Your Mark ballot has closed, but they haven’t circulated which issues were chosen yet to the MYPs.”


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Toby, who has been an MYP for around 18 months, is currently studying politics, sociology and theatre studies at A-level.

He said: “I was voted to represent the East of England by the 20 to 30 MYPs who represent the region.

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“I have spoken before as an MYP, at an anti-smoking event and outside parliament, but this is something completely different.

“Only MPs and MYPs can sit on the green benches in the House of Commons. Usually it is just Government ministers who get to talk at the dispatch box. It is such an exciting thing to be asked to do.”

The Make Your Mark Ballot, organised by the Youth Parliament, is set to reveal the top four issues on Friday.

In the Bury constituency, the top five issues from more than 1,200 votes cast, were the living wage for everyone over 16, the curriculum for life, which would have a range of life skills taught in schools, mental health, climate change and tackling religious and racial discrimination.

Toby, whose two-year term runs out March 2016, will still be eligible to stand again. However, he said: “It has been an incredible experience but I don’t think I will stand again. I think another young person should be able to take on this opportunity.”

The annual youth parliament next month will be chaired by John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, and is broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

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