Academy pupils vying for Westminster seat

Upper Bann candidate Jamie Hawthorne receives support from MP David Simpson in the run-up to the UK Youth Parliament election. Below: Adam Kinneen is also standing in Upper Bann.
Upper Bann candidate Jamie Hawthorne receives support from MP David Simpson in the run-up to the UK Youth Parliament election. Below: Adam Kinneen is also standing in Upper Bann.

Two Lower Sixth pupils fromBanbridge Academy are currently vying for a prestigious place in the House of Commons.

Elections for the UK Youth Parliament are now open and students Adam Kinneen and Jamie Hawthorne are keen to represent Upper Bann.

Banbridge Academy pupil Adam Kinneen, who is running for a seat in the UK Youth Parliament.

Banbridge Academy pupil Adam Kinneen, who is running for a seat in the UK Youth Parliament.

The duo are running separate campaigns against four other young people from across the constituency for one seat and both are desperate to land the place.

“I decided to run for the youth parliament due to my frustration at the disregard for the youth in today’s society,” said Adam.

“I felt like with my skill set I could really be effective in the role and I decided I would run this year. The youth are the future and we make up a considerable amount of the population.

“The youth parliament actually does take up a few sessions in the House of Commons so we really are making a difference.

“No one is affiliated with any political parties, we are all standing as individuals, you aren’t allowed to associate yourself with any political party.”

Jamie is keen to improve cross-community projects, should he be voted in.

“I can assure you this is not an empty promise,” he said. “I know that there are cross community projects that are up and running in Upper Bann but they need continued support from our politicians to ensure that the enormous potential that these services can offer in building the brightest and most hope-filled future for all in Upper Bann is being delivered.

“If we really are the future, why should we wait 10, 20, 30 years before we start working together? Let’s start now! As one community lets make Upper Bann a model for what the rest of Northern Ireland aspires to be.”

Adam, who now lives near Annaclone, is hoping to the target the jobs issue.

“My main policy I would work to achieve would be lowering youth unemployment which is a shocking 764,000 in the UK,” he said.

“That’s 764,000 young people out of full-time education who can’t get a job. I’m also intending to work on free public transport for under 18s and a development of leisure facilities to get young people socialising off the streets and in the community. I am definitely interested in a career in politics in later life, I feel I have the right skills for the job. I’m good at talking.”

Jamie, meanwhile, is spreading his targets across a range of issues, from improving leisure facilities to the creation of employment opportunities for young people.

You can vote online at www.youthvoteni.com until voting closes on Friday (February 27).