Caroline Dinenage MP enjoyed an engaging meeting with Anastasia Lonergan, the recently elected Member of Youth Parliament for Gosport, Fareham and Havant.

Anastasia is a year 11 student at Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville, which both Caroline and Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, also attended. She recently won the vote to represent her fellow young people, and will be taking part in the Youth Parliament’s annual debate in the House of Commons later this year. The debate will take place on Friday the 10th of November, after MPs voted unanimously to allow the UK Youth Parliament continued use of the Commons Chamber. Since 2009, it has been the only group other than Members of Parliament allowed to debate on the famous green benches of the Commons.

The ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign encourages young people between the ages of 11 and 18 to participate in a UK-wide ballot to decide the topics of the Youth Parliament’s House of Commons debate, the outcome of which will determine the Youth Parliament’s priority campaigns for the year ahead. The ballot closes on Friday the 6th of October.

Commenting, Caroline said: ‘It was fantastic to meet Anastasia, who I know will work hard to ensure the views of young people from across our area are heard. Encouraging interest and engagement in democracy among young people is so important for the future of our country. The Youth Parliament is a tremendous organisation, and I will follow November’s debate with great interest.’