Taunton School sixth form student Hanna Wittek recently visited the House of Commons to deliver a campaign speech on behalf of the Youth Parliament.
As Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Somerset, the 17-year-old recently received the opportunity to go to the House of Commons to debate the top five issues that over 800,000 young people voted for nationwide in the Make your Mark youth vote this year.
Earlier this year, Hanna was elected to represent the South West as a debate lead. She said: “I spoke at the dispatch box for three minutes on a campaign that I was most passionate about. This to me was certainly speaking on hate crime. My speech was prepared and I think it went really well!”
The two national campaigns, which were democratically elected by the MYPs, were “Protect the Environment” and “End Knife Crime” which were also the two topics that were the most voted for in Taunton School. The other issues in the top five were “Mental Health”, “Tackle Hate Crime” and “Curriculum for Life”.
Before Hanna spoke in the chamber, she had the chance to meet recently elected Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle. “We had a sophisticated conversation with him about Youth Parliament and how significant youth voice is especially in such a time of uncertainty,” commented Hanna.
The A-level student has now set her sights on being an MP in the future. “I’m really keen on law and politics and initially I wanted to become a family barrister. Having worked with the Youth Parliament has made me realise that I can really make a difference by becoming an MP and having a voice in parliament. I hope to study politics, philosophy and economics at Cambridge when I finish my studies at Taunton School.”
Hanna added: “Last year, the support in the chamber from the staff and members was amazing. Jeremy Corbyn made a statement about what a great job the Youth Parliament are doing and Theresa May sent us a letter of support. This year the atmosphere was astonishing and so inspiring to many others.”
On the recent events in politics, Hanna comments: “At such a confusing and tense time I am keen to advocate what the Youth Parliament have done to include youth voice in modern politics. It has never been more important and I’m delighted to have had this fantastic opportunity.”
Taunton School Headmaster Mr Lee Glaser said: “We are very proud of Hanna. She has only been with us for one term and has already made her mark. She has a very bright future ahead of her.”