Young people can have their voices heard before June 8’s snap election with a Question Time-style debate.
#YourVoiceMatters will see political hopefuls from Swansea West battle it out in front of an audience at Swansea’s YMCA.
Labour candidate Geraint Davies took the seat in 2015 with a healthy 20 per cent majority but is facing strong competition from opponents and fellow panelists Rhydian Elis Fitter, for Plaid Cymru, Michael O’Carroll, for the Lib Dems and Craig Lawton, for the Conservatives.
The event has been put on by aid-giving group Swansea Humanitarian and Response Project (Sharp) and Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) in a bid to get young people engaged in politics.
The political hustings will take place at the YMCA, on The Kingsway, from 6.30pm to 9pm on Friday. The panel discussion will kick-off at 7pm, where the four politicians will debate Brexit, bullying, the refugee crisis and Islamophobia
The floor will then be thrown open to the audience for a question and answer session. Many believe that people aged between the official voting age of 18 and their mid-20s have the power to swing elections.
However, thousands are not signed up to vote. Following Theresa May’s announcement of the snap election more than 930,000 people applied to vote. Of these, more than 390,000 were aged under 25 – 42 per cent of the total.
#YourVoiceMatters debate chair Sarah Hoss, said: “I want to support young and first-time voters in particular because published figures show voting activity amongst 18 to 24 year olds was very low in the last major election – with about two thirds of young people not taking part in the Referendum a year ago.
“The hustings being held in Swansea on Friday will give candidates and young voters an opportunity to meet and debate together which I hope will inspire greater participation in democracy.
“The future of Swansea is in the hands of our young people. Young people need to feel empowered to become involved in law-making and coming up with new ideas that will change our society for the better.”
One of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s policies is to lower the voting age to 16. But Theresa May is against the policy, saying she believes it’s “right” to keep the current minimum age of 18 at UK-wide elections.
Sarah added: “I’m looking forward to the event and I hope it’ll be an experience that will enthuse more youngsters to vote and hold politicians to account. Who knows, it might be the spark needed to encourage some to stand for election in the future!”
To register for the event, go to yourvoicematters.eventbrite.co.uk