Teen is first Sinn Fein member to address Commons

A teenage student today became the first Sinn Fein member to speak in the House of Commons.

Connor Morgan, 18, spoke in Gaelic as he addressed a meeting of the UK Youth Parliament sitting in the Commons chamber.



Mr Morgan, from Maghera, said his Sinn Fein membership was "completely irrelevant" as Members of the Youth Parliament do not have party loyalties.



He told the Press Association: "I'm here today just for the young people of my area.



"That's the only thing I want, to represent the young people of my area. I want to represent their views."



Mr Morgan, who is studying politics at Leeds University and represents Northern Ireland in the UKYP, spoke during the debate on raising tuition fees.



Commons Speaker John Bercow, who was chairing the second meeting of the UKYP in the Chamber, told the MYPs that Mr Morgan would say "some words in Irish Gaelic".



Mr Morgan spoke briefly in the language before saying in English: "It is a great honour to stand here before you and to have the opportunity to address you in Irish."



Sinn Fein's MPs do not take their seats in Westminster because they refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen.





















Around 300 MYPs aged between 11 and 18 sat on the Commons' green benches during the meeting, the second to be staged in the chamber.

The session comes after MPs voted earlier this year to allow the UKYP to hold an annual sitting in the Commons for the remainder of the Parliament - scheduled to end in 2015.



Mr Morgan spoke to oppose the proposed removal of the cap on university tuition fees contained in Lord Browne's report on higher education funding.



He said raising the cap would mean "education will become a privilege only for those who can afford it".



He added: "Is it just that the current Members of Parliament, many of whom had a university education paid for by the state now expect us, the innocent and disenfranchised in this economic mess, to pay for the mistakes that they have made?



"Is is right that considering we, as young people, are constantly being told that we are the future, our future appears to us to be a burden of debt and uncertain job prospects?"



But James Bartle from Newcastle said: "This rise in fees is absolutely necessary if we are to maintain high standards in our education system."



There was a "crisis" in university funding with institutions "starved of cash," he said.



Another issue debated was "should sex and relationships education (SRE) be compulsory from primary school onwards".



Speaking for the motion, Cornwall MYP Joe Vinson argued that SRE was needed to balance sexual images in the mainstream media and promote confidence in young people.



"Sex education needs to start early to stop the damage before it's too late," he said.



But Sutton MYP Maria Finnerty argued teaching SRE at primary school would be "too much too young".



Buckinghamshire's Abla Seckley asked MYPs to raise their hands if they were "mortified" by the idea of having "the talk" with their parents - prompting great support.



Cheshire East MYP Elizabeth Jessop said priorities should be finalised at a local level.



"Sexual education is not a condom," she said. "One size will not fit all to solve this problem."



Opening the meeting, Mr Bercow told the MYPs that the Commons could learn from them how to be more representative.



He said: "I have always been struck by the fact that 50% of you or thereabouts are female, approximately 20% of you are from black and minority ethnic communities and approximately 10% of you have some form of disability.



"So in terms of representing the kaleidoscope of modern society the UK Youth Parliament does it very impressively and does it in a way from which the elected House of Commons itself can learn."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate