Bilborough College students debated the complexities of Brexit with Labour MP Alex Norris and the co-founder of an organisation dedicated to ensuring that young people’s views on the subject are heard.
Mr Norris, MP for Nottingham North, joined Femi Oluwole, from Our Future, Our Choice, for a lively question and answer session about Brexit in the refectory at Bilborough College.
Mr Oluwole said Our Future, Our Choice was campaigning for a second vote on the terms of any deal agreed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
He said: “I always give the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland as an example. A copy of that was sent to every person and they were given the opportunity to vote on it and that is the democratic way forward. Young people need to be involved and we want to know what their opinions are.”
Mr Norris said he was looking forward to hearing the students’ views which would inform any comments he made in Parliament.
He said: “Brexit is going to affect a lot of young people’s futures. The area that I represent covers the college and it’s important that I listen to young people’s views and reflect them in Parliament. I know that some of them are not of voting age but we are working on that and we want to hear what they have got to say.”
Mr Oluwole asked students whether they thought Brexit was a good or bad idea and exactly what they understood about the subject.
He said: “We should have the right to decide whether the deal is good enough, at the moment we have no right to decide our own futures and that’s not good enough.”
Students asked a range of questions covering topics such as the possibility of a second referendum, workers’ rights, how the EU will respond to the UK in the future, immigration and whether their should be a vote on the actual deal that is agreed as proposed by Our Future, Our Choice.
Lisa Judson, Bilborough Xtra, DofE Manager and Gold Arts Award Assessor at Bilborough College, organised the event.
She said: “When we were approached to host the event, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to build on the interest and interaction we had for the mock election we ran last academic year. With over 50 enrichment activities running every single week in college, the Politics Society is the second most well attended session we have with a regular turnout from 40 to 50 students. It is student led with a constitution written by last year’s leader and adheres to standards and procedures akin to real-life politics.
“Students here are encouraged to care about what’s happening in the world politically, socially and economically, and I felt this was reflected in the level of mature, considered and engaged questioning they had on the day about something that will affect their futures in such a huge way. It was also an opportunity to allow their opinions to be heard by the MP for Nottingham North.
“We welcome all political parties to apply to come in to college if they want to engage with our students in similar style debates.”