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13 September 2011
The 4th Commonwealth Youth Parliament concluded on a high note on Friday with an historic debate in the House of Lords Chamber, presided over by Lord Speaker Rt Hon. Baroness D'Souza in what was only the 9th day of her term in the office.
For the first time ever, Members of the House of Commons were invited to sit on the red benches of the upper house and speak in the House of Lords Chamber.
Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarians were joined for the day by an additional group of young representatives of the UK's Commonwealth Diaspora, involved through the Houses of Parliament's Parliamentary Outreach activities.
The debate was on the motion, ‘Should [the fictional country of] Commonwealthland reduce carbon emissions by 100% by 2050?' and followed the style of a parliamentary debate, with opening speeches from delegates elected earlier in the week to the posts of Prime Minister (Graeme Osborn, representing the Isle of Man) and Leader of the Opposition (Matthew Crow, UK) of Commonwealthland.
With the debate open to the floor, Commonwealth Youth Parliamentarians and Commonwealth Diaspora Parliamentarians had the opportunity to contribute. After 90 minutes of wide-ranging discussion, the delegates voted: 68 in favour of the motion, 41against. Jayson Paul, a delegate from Trinidad and Tobago, exemplified the prevailing stance by stating ‘Drastic climate change is happening now, the time to stop it was yesterday, and if we don't act, there will be no tomorrow.'
The debate concluded with the Lord Speaker inviting the observing MPs and peers to introduce themselves and comment on the debate. Pauline Latham MP, Steve Baker MP, Conor Burns MP, Thomas Docherty MP, Tom Greatrex MP, Stephen Pound MP and Baroness Scotland all commended the performances of all participants, Mr Pound said that CYPs and CDPs were 'sitting [in the Chamber] as of right' and urged them to retain their passion, to which Mr Baker added that he looked forward to the day when ‘I'll see you as the leaders of your countries.'