The Yorkshire Voice
Local student elected to represent county in the Commons
A teenager from Leeds is preparing to enter his fifth year as an elected member of the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) with the whole of Yorkshire now under his control.
Seventeen-year-old Minhaz Abedin will be balancing his individual studies with the busy job of overseeing the local youth votes as he takes up the role of representing his county.
Speaking about his new position, Minhaz explained: “The new role means I can now take a lead in facilitating the UKYP in towns and cities, and give something back after all the opportunities the youth parliament has offered me.”
An upper sixth student at the Grammar School at Leeds, the political ace will now be part of the Procedures Group which coordinates the development and activities of the UKYP, including its sittings.
It is the third time Minhaz has been elected to the group, having already completed two terms of two years each.
The UKYP is made up of 600 members and deputy members who are elected by their peers to represent young people at UK-wide, regional and local levels.
Since 2009 the UKYP has held an annual debate in the House of Commons and this year Minhaz had the honour of giving the closing speech after members voted on which issues to prioritise in campaigning during the coming year.
Closing the debate Minhaz said: “I was going to start this speech with ‘we made it’, but then I realised it was a bit better than that; 969,992 young people made it.
"Every person sat in this chamber has witnessed something historic today, so let us take a second to realise what we have actually accomplished. Today we represented the voice of nearly a million young people. Today we empowered a generation. Today, we made a difference."
After debating five topics, which had been voted for by over 950,000 young people, MYPs elected to prioritise mental health services as well as combating racism and religious discrimination.
The debate was presided over by the Speaker John Bercow MP who thanked Minhaz for his ‘inimitable eloquence’ as the closing speaker.
Minhaz is currently studying government and politics, economics and English literature at A-level and hopes to read politics and international relations at university.
While he sees his future career in politics, he said party politics is not where his future lies: “The UKYP has allowed me to see that I don’t need to be affiliated to make a difference.”