As published by the Daily Express:
ALMOST 40,000 people tuned in to watch and listen to youngsters debate the issues of the day in the second annual Children’s Parliament – a legacy of the democracy-loving murdered MP Sir David Amess. The main subject of the online debate – which was broadcast by Wakelet.com across the Daily Express website and the newspaper’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts – was the safety of children.
In a world of county line drug gangs and online sexual grooming, the junior representatives from 251 UK constituencies heard from experts in these fields. Former Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver, who battled for justice for scores of young vulnerable young girls raped by Pakistani-heritage men in Rochdale and other northern towns, spoke to the online chamber yesterday.
“Does this feel like a “normal” friendship? We need to make them feel safe to have an open dialogue with trusted adults in their lives.”
Mr Rodgers agreed, saying: “I teach how to be safe through awareness, education and the law.
“Using role play, breaking down the process children may go through to be tempted by money, trainers, food, jewellery or exploited into County Lines and gangs, they need to be able to spot the signs.”
In association with the Daily Express, the next Wakelet Microsoft 365 Sir David Amess National Children’s Parliament will look for 650 would-be aged seven to 11 MPs to take part in a special commemorative debate in the main chamber of the real British Parliament to commemorate the first anniversary of Sir David’s death on October 15, 2022.
The inaugural event last year took place just weeks after the senseless murder of Sir David who was knifed to death in his Southend West constituency by an Islamic fanatic.
Children across the UK have been matched to MPs and their constituencies.
MPs include Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an Independent.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis MP, who stepped in for Sir David last year, is staying involved in the Parliament.
He said: “The real driving force was Sir David Amess who was murdered in a cowardly act of terror.
“David was a man who loved Parliament and saw the importance of the role he so ably fulfilled.
“He put it best when he said: “It is the greatest privilege that anyone can have to be elected to our Parliament, I still think that it is the best Parliament in the world.”
Gary Jones, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Express is chairman of the Advisory Board of the Children’s Parliament.