MPs have noble motives but big egos, says Jeremy Hunt

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And although he was not very good at maths at school, that didn’t stop him from taking charge of the Government biggest budget.

Mr Hunt was giving advice to his junior shadow MP Cameron Lee, who attends local school Amesbury, in Hindhead, in their South West Surrey constituency.

The 11-year-old is one of up to 650 youngsters aged seven to 11 set to represent their local area in the UK’s first online Children’s Parliament taking place on October 29.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak have found their young MP matches.

Conservative Sir Iain Duncan-Smith and Labour’s Emily Thornberry and David Lammy have done so too.

The hunt is still on in the constituencies of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Hunt said he wanted to become an MP because he wanted to help people.

But he admitted that some of his colleagues are “also people who quite like to be on a stage where the world can see them doing their good works. They want to be a big player.

“So they’re not the purist of people – unlike say teachers or charity workers who are happy to do their good deeds out of the limelight.”

Cameron, meanwhile, agreed, saying that MPs like to talk a lot.

“They need to be able to speak about lots of issues, but perhaps they could all listen more too.

 “I’m not sure I would like to be a proper MP when I’m older. I really enjoy sports and being active. I don’t think that the work in Parliament would suit this.”

Lola Hillgrove, 11, is a pupil at Saint Pierre School, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and is the young constituency match to Sir David Amess.

She does not blame MPs for the recent fuel shortage in some parts of the UK, but was caught up in it when her family had to line up outside the petrol station at Asda for two hours to fill up with petrol and could only then get £30 worth.

“I also think that to really help protect our planet, we should actually all learn to be better at recycling and putting the recycling bins out regularly.”

The junior MPs are set to send their own “Parliamentary” message on climate change to world leaders at the COP26 environmental conference later this year.

They will debate in a virtual parliamentary session held in a House of Commons style “chamber”, with half of the children representing Her Majesty’s Government and the other Her Majesty’s Opposition.

They will then vote on the environmental issues that matter to them – alongside Covid-19 and technology.

The project, named This House Matters, is being seen as critical to teach children about the value of democracy.

Sir David said: “I want to inspire children right across the United Kingdom to get involved in the political process from an early age.

“In my opinion, the earlier young people get involved in politics the better.”

He explained: “Each MP will have a junior MP in the debate from their constituency. The fact that technology exists to allow a national debate without the children leaving their constituencies is amazing.”

The venture is also backed by the Daily Express – which launched its successful Green Britain crusade earlier this year – as well as the British internationally successful online educational website Wakelet.

Jamil Khalil, founder of Wakelet, said: “Climate Change has become highly topical for young people in schools across Britain and we’re delighted to be involved in such a vital, significant project as the Children’s Parliament.

“It’s really important that children are engaged in the democratic process in this country, at the youngest age, and debate the issues that really matter to them and to all of us.”

The session will be live-streamed at 5pm on Friday, October 29, just before the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) meets in Glasgow on Monday, November 1 and runs until the 12th.

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Cameron said:

1 – Has your family had problems filling up their car?

Yes, we can’t find petrol or diesel anywhere near us

2 –  What do you think we should do to help protect our planet? 

A definite is that we stop burning or using Fossil fuels. Electrical cars are really important, because they don’t put CO2 emisssions into the atmosphere. Maybe the government could help to make electric cars cheaper for everyone.

3 – Do you think the Children’s parliament is a good idea? Why?

Yes, because children’s voices being heard means that older people aren’t in control of everything and get to hear both sides of the argument.

4 – Do you think politicians like to talk a lot?

Absolutely! They need to be able to speak about lots of issues, but perhaps they could all listen more too!

5 – Would you like to be an MP?

I’m not sure, I really enjoy sports and being active. I don’t think that the work in Parliament would suit this

6 – Mr Hunt says he wasn’t good at maths but was good at languages. What subjects do you think MPs should study or be good at?

I think it’s important that all MPs have a good understanding of linguistics, for when they meet MPs from different countries, they can communicate in that language. Also, Maths is important, because there are lots of statistics involved.

Lola Hillgrove, 11, pupil at Saint Pierre School, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Child MP of Sir David Amess

 

1 – Has your family had problems filling up their car?

-Yes, they have. Our family had to line up outside the petrol station at Asda for two hours to fill up with petrol and could only then get £30 worth.

 

2 –  What do you think we should do to help protect our planet?

-By putting all the recycling bins out, no one really puts anything in them properly. Maybe we should get better at that.

 

3 – Do you think the Children’s parliament is a good idea? Why?

-I think it’s a great idea so that children can learn from listening to other children’s views and decide on what side to take on issues.

 

4 – Do you think politicians like to talk a lot?

-Yes. It’s because they want to share their views with other politicians to persuade them that their views are the right ones.

 

5 – Would you like to be an MP?

-I would like to be an MP when I grow up because my family have told me a lot of things that have interested me. I want to share with others so I can change their views to my views.

 

6 – Mr Hunt says he wasn’t good at maths but was good at languages. What subjects do you think MPs should study or be good at?

-I think they should be good at history so they can learn from other politicians from the past like Churchill.

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COMMENT BY THE RT HON JEREMY HUNT MP

I am especially enthused about such an incredibly passionate bunch of pupils debating Climate issues in the upcoming Children’s Parliament.

I’m hoping the government will be publishing a plan before COP26 detailing housing, transport and energy generation which will all lead to making it a real success.

Ultimately, we want everyone’s car to be electric. There’s less environmental pollution, less noise pollution. The practical problems are both their cost and also charging points if you have to park on the street. We need charging points in as many places as parking meters.

I still believe we can hit Net Zero before 2050. We have already reduced our carbon emissions by over half since 1990 and are doing better than France, America and Japan. 

Why do people want to become MPs? Most people start with noble motives. I was passionate about the issue of poverty in Africa. 

But MPs are also people who quite like to be on a stage where the world can see them doing their good works. They want to be a big player.

So they’re not the purist of people – unlike say teachers or charity workers who are happy to do their good deeds out of the limelight.

When I was at school, I was always better at languages than maths. I really recommend learning a foreign language. 

The best countries are open to the best ideas from abroad. It helps you see things from a different perspective.

I wasn’t so good at Maths, but then, that didn’t stop me as Health secretary being in charge of the biggest budget in government.

Anything is possible if you aim high and work hard at it.

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Link is: www.wakelet.com/@childrensparliament

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