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16 June, 2003

Cherie Booth launches National Youth Parliament Competition

Cherie Booth QC, in her role as trustee of the Citizenship Foundation, today re-launched the National Youth Parliament Competition at Downing Street alongside former winners from across the UK.

Organised by the Citizenship Foundation, the competition helps bring to life the process of politics and government by offering young people the opportunity to set up and video their own parliamentary session. Entries are judged by political journalists and MPs from across the benches. Open to 11-18 year olds nationwide, thousands have taken part over the years. After a one-year gap, the National Youth Parliament Competition returns thanks to a new partnership with Norwich Union. As part of the renewal, the competition is inviting applications from youth groups and other more informal teams as well as secondary schools. Teams from Scotland will now be able to choose to model their mock parliament on Holyrood as well as Westminster, and in future years an equivalent option will be available in Wales and Northern Ireland. Alongside the main competition, a new political journalism competition will be available, which will invite participants to write newspaper articles or make a TV or radio programme on a political issue of their choice. Speaking at the event, our trustee, Cherie Booth QC said: 'I believe the competition is a great way of taking the mystery out of the political process, helping young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need to become engaged, responsible citizens in our democracy.' The National Youth Parliament Competition is also supported by the three main national political parties. Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education, said: 'This valuable competition provides young people with the opportunity to learn about parliament and democracy through becoming actively involved.' Damian Green, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said: 'It is great to see so many young people wanting to participate in the democratic process. The Youth Parliament Competition is useful in developing political awareness and helping improve vital skills.' Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, said: 'I'm delighted to support the Youth Parliament Competition. It's a fantastic way of getting young people involved in politics and encouraging debate on the issues that matter to them.'

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