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8 July, 2005

Young political awards ceremony goes ahead at House of Lords

Against the background of the terrorist attacks in London, a muted, low-key event proceeded at the House of Lords on 7 July for the winners of this year’s National Youth Parliament and National Political Journalism competitions.

Winners of the National Political Journalism Competition, 2004-05.
'Press Officer' award winners of the National Youth Parliament Competition, with Maria Eagle MP yesterday

Pupils from Darrick Wood School in Orpington, Westcliff High School in Southend, Robert May’s School in Hampshire and Genlola Collegiate and St Mary’s Grammar School in Northern Ireland managed to get to Westminster in spite of the chaos.

The National Youth Parliament winners received their awards from minister Maria Eagle, shadow education secretary David Cameron (who presented the Best Opposition Leader award) and Deputy Speaker Sylvia Heal.

Iain Watson, political correspondent on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and Ian Prince from BBC Newsround presented the awards to the winners of the National Political Journalism Competition, all of whom were able to attend.

We were extremely grateful to all the presenters and to MPs and peers who came to the event despite other commitments on a very difficult day. Thank you also to Lord Phillips of Sudbury, who hosted the event, and also kindly took pupils from St Mary’s Grammar to tea.

Neema Begum and her teacher from Joseph Leckie Techonology College in Walsall reached the capital but were unable to get to Parliament. Their local MP, Bruce George, who joined us for the ceremony, will present the trophy to Neema and the team at their school. Winners from Stanway School in Essex, Newport High School for Girls and James Allen’s Girls’ School, and other finalists, were turned back before arriving in central London.

All the winners are invited for tea at Downing Street next week. In addition, Maria Eagle has generously offered to host Stanway School, the winning team in the National Youth Parliament Competition, for tea on the House of Commons terrace.

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