UK Children’s Parliament to Become Charity

On Sir David Amess’s birthday, 26 March, UK Children’s Parliament to Become Charity, Honouring Sir David Amess’s Legacy

By: News Team | Published: 26 March 2024

On Sir David Amess’s birthday 26th March, The Sir David Amess UK Children’s Parliament, an innovative programme that teaches politics to children from a young age, is set to be established as a charity. This move honours the vision of the late Sir David Amess, who co-founded the initiative alongside Andrew Fox, local constituent Richard Hillgrove, and Peter Spencer-Lane, Headmaster of Saint Pierre in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex in October 2021.

“We want Sir David to be proud that the programme he envisioned to teach politics to kids at the youngest age possible is not just crawling, but walking, running, and climbing up hills,” said Andrew Fox, Executive Director and Co-founder of the soon-to-be charity UK Children’s Parliament.

Previously operated as CP 2021 Ltd, a company limited by guarantee, the UK Children’s Parliament will now transition into a registered charity. 

Fox will head up the charitable organisation, joined by trustees Gary Jones, Editor-in-Chief of The Express and the UK Children’s Parliament Board of Advisory Chairman and Giles Heseltine.

The formation of the charity cements Sir David Amess’s lasting legacy, ensuring the Children’s Parliament continues to empower and engage young minds in the political process. 

As Fox stated, “Anna Firth, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Southend West and Leigh, is not carrying a torch for Sir David Amess’s legacy, but a Firework Display as Parliamentary Champion for the Sir David Amess Children’s Parliament.”

Since its inception in 2021, the UK Children’s Parliament has provided a virtual platform for children nationwide to debate and vote on key issues ranging from conservation to knife crime, online safety, and more. Each 90-minute session sees up to 300 children participate nationwide, with debates live-streamed on and transcripts preserved for posterity.

Sir David Amess was instrumental in the Children’s Parliament’s early success, rallying MPs to find “Child MP matches” and engaging Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver video messages of support. His tragic death in October 2021 was deeply felt, with Parliament paying cross-party tribute to the indelible mark he left.

Following Sir David’s death, his eldest daughter Katie Amess became the Patron of the UK Children’s Parliament. In February 2022, she said, “Like my father, I would like to see democracy and parliamentary process taught in schools. This is an incredible initiative, whereby children of primary school age can discuss adult issues and send their views directly to the heart of the British parliament. “From the absolute tragedy of my father’s death, we must ensure that democracy and freedom of speech prevail. While I am an actress and not a politician, I am so proud to be a part of this and, in his memory, will do all I possibly can to ensure its success.”

The Children’s Parliament has also received backing from prominent figures across the political spectrum. David Davis MP stood in for Sir David and has been “tireless in his support.” Jeremy Hunt MP joined Child MPs for a debate, while Labour’s Andy Slaughter backed the Sustainability and Fashion programme.

Looking ahead, the newly formed charity aims to expand the Children’s Parliament’s reach through in-person events alongside its virtual chamber. Anna Firth MP launched the first UK Children’s Parliament Select Committee on Water Management and Sustainability in October 2022, and Baroness Uddin is set to host a House of Lords debate through the APPG Metaverse and Web 3.0 in April 2023.

“The Children’s Parliament has certainly now set sail,” said Fox, “and I look forward to a legacy where kids across the land use tech to register virtual and in-person meetings on all the topics that matter – both sides of arguments. Kids empowered, engaged, and protected from online harms.”

The charity will facilitate children’s direct engagement with Parliament, with results from their meetings sent to Anna Firth’s office for the House of Commons and Baroness Uddin for the House of Lords.

As Co-Parliamentary Champion and Chair of the Children’s Parliament APPG, Anna Firth MP said: “The Children’s Parliament has been a fantastic project, engaging hundreds of young children in our political system. In its third year now it has gone from strength to strength, and I am proud I have played my part in its success. I am delighted to hear that the Children’s Parliament is now set to become a charity, ensuring the project will continue in safe hands and helping to cement Sir David’s legacy”.

As Co-Parliamentary Chair Baroness Uddin remarked, “I want to thank Harry Acheampong, the outgoing Interim Child Prime Minister, the first Child PM, who set an outstanding year of Children’s Parliament campaigns. I also want to welcome the new PM Clark Dearson, and both Anna and I are looking forward to a flourishing term for the new team.”

As Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said in his inspirational video for the UK Children’s Parliament recorded in October 2021, “In my view, people can’t start early enough to get involved in democracy. That’s why the Children’s Parliament is a great initiative. If you want to make things happen you have to be a part of it. You have to get involved.Get your voice heard. Get your name out there. Hopefully, we will see some of you on the green benches in the future. Or even the next Prime Minister”.

With its transition to a charitable organisation, the UK Children’s Parliament is poised to build closer links with the Children’s Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group formed first registered in November 2022 and Chaired by Anna Firth MP with Bulldog Political Consulting acting as the Secretariat. 

The UK Children’s Parliament has been supported by Edtech platform Wakelet and Microsoft365.

It will build upon Sir David Amess’s vision, shaping the engaged citizens of tomorrow through early participation in the democratic process.

Posted: 26th March 2024