Teenager speaks about amazing experience of taking part in landmark House of Commons debate

By ADAM LAZZARI IT is widely believed that the MPs expenses scandal destroyed the nation s faith in politics. But for 16-year-old Lewis Punter, who took part in a landmark debate at the House of Commons on Friday, the affair has only fuelled his passion

By ADAM LAZZARI

IT is widely believed that the MPs' expenses scandal destroyed the nation's faith in politics.

But for 16-year-old Lewis Punter, who took part in a landmark debate at the House of Commons today, the affair has only fuelled his passion to make a difference.

Lewis, from Elm, represents Fenland and East Cambridgeshire on Cambridgeshire's Youth Parliament.


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He was one of about 300 MYPs to take the famous green benches on today to discuss lowering the voting age to 16, youth crime, public transport for young people, jobs and the economy and university fees.

This was the first time in 300 years that anyone other than MPs has been allowed to debate in the House of Commons.

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Lewis said: "I became interested in politics about two and a half years ago because I enjoy representing people and making sure their voices are heard.

"The expenses scandal has made me more determined to change the way politics is run."

Lewis was joined on his trip to London by Will Heron, who represents North Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and Kayleigh Bamford who is an acting MYP for South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City.

He said: "It was amazing to see 300 young people having their say in the House of Commons and to be a part of that. It shows that anyone who thinks that young people aren't interested in politics is seriously misinformed and how democracy among young people is alive and kicking.

"This is why I see lowering the age of voting to 16 is an issue that I feel very strongly about. What we said in the House of Commons was heard by senior MPs and government officials and I hope it will make a difference."

Lewis, who visited the House of Lords last year, describes himself as non-party political and said his immediate concern is youth politics.

He met Liberal Democrat spokesperson for housing, MP Lembit �pik, and speaker of the House of Commons, MP John Bercow.

Lewis said: "They both told me that they support the work of the UK Youth Parliament and were very impressed by the high level of debate that took place."

The debate was shown on the BBC parliament website.

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