Youngsters give our politicians a grilling

Youth Cabinet member Grace Thomson addresses the panel
Youth Cabinet member Grace Thomson addresses the panel

YOUNG people have been asking tough questions of Wigan borough’s politicians at a pre-election Question Time event.

Wigan Youth Cabinet and Wigan and Leigh College’s Student Union organised the political debate, offering the chance for young people to engage in politics on the issues which matter to them.

The event comes ahead of the General and Local Elections on Thursday May 7 and school pupils, college students and youth group members were in the audience at Wigan and Leigh’s Saidy Theatre to hear what the parties had to say.

In the hot seats were Labour councillor Terry Halliwell, Conservative councillor James Grundy, Green Party parliamentary candidate Will Patterson, Lib-Dem candidate John Shipworth and Ukip candidate Les Leggett. Wigan Youth Cabinet member Rory Gilmore and Oliver Parker from the Students’ Union chaired the event.

Coun Jo Platt, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It’s really exciting to see so many young people engaging with politics as many of the issues they raised are ones that affect not only themselves but all generations. These kinds of events also help to spread the message that politicians are keen to hear what they have to say and they have the power to have their say, through voting, which we have been encouraging people to do with The Deal.

“In politics it is not uncommon for young people to find their voices hard to be heard, particularly on the national stage and that is something we want to change here in Wigan. I’d like to thank all the young people who organised and were involved in the event and I hope we can see more like it.”

College vice-principal Teresa Farran said: “Wigan and Leigh is a community college. We develop, encourage and motivate our students to take control of their own future as responsible citizens, engaged and actively making the community they want.

“Youth question time is an excellent opportunity for the young people to discuss and debate issues and develop their understanding and awareness of a range of opinions and attitudes.”