Over the past year, the British Youth Council along with numerous other leading youth organisations have been working hard to understand the views of young people in regards to exiting the EU. We have found that over 90% wanted to have a meaningful say in the Brexit negotiations and to ensure this is meaningful and not tokenistic.
Last week, that research started to make a difference as the British youth Council gathered a number of key organisations within the youth sector for a roundtable meeting with Government Ministers on how young people can shape this process.
The meeting was instigated after a letter from our former Chair, Jon Foster, was sent to Oliver Letwin MP, the then chief of temporary EU Unit at the Cabinet Office. The letter requested youth voices are heard in future negotiations. At the Annual Council Meeting, young people voted in a motion stating that voices of young people need to be represented in post-referendum negotiations on issues such as free movement and opportunities; as such, we felt it imperative to lead this position and take this demand to the heart of government.
The British Youth Council believes in putting young people at the heart of decision-making, so I along with other youth representatives met with the Government’s lead on youth policy, Rob Wilson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, at the Department for Exiting the EU to discuss the youth perspective but importantly the future youth involvement in Brexit. We want to see young people at the heart of the negotiation process, moving beyond consultation and into active participation.
We very much look forward to working with government, the youth sector and young people in the following months to make this a reality. We have the chance to shape the political engagement of a generation – now is the time to show young people and their voices make a difference!
In a speech yesterday at Lancaster House, Theresa May, Prime Minister, set out the Government’s Brexit plans in detail for the first time. Theresa May talked about the Brexit negotiations shaping a “brighter future” and a better Britain for future generations, and the British Youth Council believes that this can only happen if young people are a part of the process.