Elin Jones achieves Consensus on Youth Parliament

Elin Jones AM, Ceredigion’s Assembly Member, has achieved unanimous cross-party support in the National Assembly for the establishment of a Youth Parliament for Wales.


Elin Jones has campaigned previously for increasing young people’s interaction with politics, and for lowering of the voting age to 16.

In a debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Elin said:

“The Assembly, like Parliaments worldwide, faces a challenge across the board to increase levels of awareness and understanding of our politics processes. As we address those challenges, it’s important that we remind ourselves that the Assembly isn’t laden with ancient traditions and ways of working; we are one Europe’s youngest parliaments. That isn’t something to fear; we should maximise the opportunities our newness present, and forge a better way of doing politics. And we must take young people with us as we do this. The decisions we take here affect their future, and so their voice must be heard by us as an integral part of our discussions.

“I don’t accept that young people aren’t interested in politics. Despite the fact that they cannot vote in Assembly elections hitherto, they understand the importance of the decisions we take here. They can tell us when and how they are directly affected by our actions, and many of them work hard to influence our processes. However, good enough is not good enough.

“As a nation that is committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we must do better. Children and young people have the right to participate as citizens now. So, we must increase meaningful opportunities to involve them in our work—input that, I’m sure, will inspire us to think differently about our nation’s future. We should also provide support for them to discuss issues that matter to them, finding ways for young people to drive our agenda, and, above all, we must listen.

“Today we are presented with an opportunity to think afresh about a national democratic space for young people in Wales—a space that reflects the separation between government and parliament.”

Elin closed her speech by thanking youth organisations who had campaigned for a youth Parliament, saying:

“They have campaigned tirelessly for the establishment of a youth assembly, building an outstanding body of research and evidence that will help us to drive our ambition forward.

“Thank you for reminding us that our duty is not only to today’s voters, but to all citizens with a stake in our democracy, present and future.”

Emyr Gryffudd, chair of Plaid Ifanc, Wales’ largest and most politically active youth wing, thanked Elin Jones, saying:

“The establishment of a youth Parliament is a campaign that we’ve supported for a long time and when it finally happens, it will prove very important in promoting young people’s participation in politics and understanding of our political systems. Plaid Ifanc would like to thank Elin Jones for bringing this cause to the limelight.”

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