Leigh College welcomed Jo Platt, Labour MP for Leigh, to a Brexit Q & A session with a selection of students to debate key issues and concerns.
Jo generously committed to giving up some time out of her busy schedule (and after only three hours sleep) following Thursday 2nd May's local elections to discuss all things Brexit and was impressed with the student’s questions.
“It’s so refreshing to speak to young people in this constituency, and they blew me away with what they know and what their challenges, fears and aspirations are. I’d always encourage them to get involved and my door is open to hear their opinions,” Jo Platt said.
“Pre-Brexit I don’t think young people had been given that opportunity to voice their opinions. So it is really important for people like me to come into schools and colleges to say how accessible we are.”
The debate was arranged through ‘Our Future, Our Choice', a youth movement campaigning for a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.
One of their main goals in 2019 is to get young people more involved in the Brexit debate and as part of this; they reached out to MPs to see if they would be willing to attend an event arranged by them at a local school/college to speak to students about Brexit.
A mixture of A Level Professional Honours Programme, BTEC and Higher Education students participated in the discussions providing them with a unique opportunity to engage with the Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office).
A Level Professional Honours Programme (Health Professional pathway) student, Katy Robinson said: “I thought it was really interesting and informative. I liked how Jo engaged with us and I find I have a clearer understanding of Brexit now and it makes me want to get more involved.”
The MP answered Brexit related questions such as What is Article 50? Is the UK Customs System ready for a hard border? Due to the local election results, should Labour be clearer on their policies for Brexit?
One student even posed the question of a much maligned issue of will Leigh finally get a train station, to which Jo stressed the necessity for better transport infrastructure around the town.
Wigan & Leigh College Assistant Principal, Maxine Mealey added: “Our students have had the unique chance to speak to a high profile politician at this key point in our countries history, who has the power to affect the lives of people in Leigh and across the country.
“MP Jo Platt allowed them to ask a range of challenging questions, with nothing off the table, and was very honest, detailed and supportive with every response. We are very grateful to Jo for attending Leigh College, our students have commented that they feel more informed and empowered because of it.”
The Our Future, Our Choice organisation was represented by Co-Founder, Will Dry who added: “It was a really fun session. Young people of this generation are concerned about what’s going on. The students gave some great questions and Jo provided some great answers to their concerns.”