On Monday 25th September, Godalming College Upper Sixth student Connor Tomlinson was invited to speak at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, at an event addressing teenager voter suppression and political apathy.
Connor, who is the Member of UK Youth Parliament for Surrey, gave a passionate speech as he shared his experiences of working in the youth voice sector, and campaigning for votes at 16. He shared a platform with fellow speakers Labour MPs Ed Miliband, Chuka Umunna, Marsha de Cordova and Shadow Youth Affairs Minister, Cat Smith.
Several other Godalming students made the journey down to St Paul’s Church to watch him speak at the event, which was run in partnership with the Electoral Reform Society, and even bumped into Guardian Journalist Owen Jones walking along the seafront later in the evening. “Spot the Politician” was definitely the game of the day, bumping into Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, and Mayor’s Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham on the way in!
Speaking after the event, Connor said “It was a great privilege to be invited to speak at the conference on an issue I believe so passionately in, and calling for a change in the way we talk about engaging young people in politics and reaching out to apathetic young voters.
It’s not often you get the opportunity to raise issues like this in the heart of the party-political arena, so to share a platform with some of the biggest names in opposition politics was a truly amazing experience and one I really enjoyed.
I hope my speech motivated like-minded listeners to educate themselves and engage in politics, at what is an incredibly important and turbulent time for both young people and the education sector”.