The President of Tynwald, Laurence Skelly MLC, has spoken of how young adults can ‘make a difference’ to Manx politics.

He was speaking at the conclusion of the sitting of Junior Tynwald when students from all five state high schools l assumed the roles of members of the House of Keys and the Legislative Council.

He said that Junior Tynwald, now in its 26th year, had a ‘strong pedigree’ and praised the students for their ‘relevant and challenging’ topics and accomplished debating skills during the sitting, which had seen members ‘put through their paces’ and illustrated the parliamentary process through which ‘robust and fit-for-purpose’ legislation can be made.

He went on to thank members for giving of their time so generously and the schools and their teaching staff for their continued support.

Nathaniel Bentley Garcia, from Queen Elizabeth II High School, who had represented Garff, said: ‘It was a really interesting experience. For anyone interested in making change, Junior Tynwald offers a good insight.’

Ramsey Grammar School’s Ivo Morrey, who also represented Garff, said: ‘I found it very interesting to have the opportunity to see how Tynwald worked’.

Eleanor Lees from Ballakermeen High School, who represented Douglas East, felt Junior Tynwald provided ‘an insight into Manx politics.’

She said: ‘In the run-up to Junior Tynwald I’d done some research so found it interesting how members and ministers responded to questions.

‘What’s great about Junior Tynwald is that even if you’re not all that interested in politics, [it’s] a good way of engaging with members and becoming better informed.’

Adam Daugherty, from St Ninian’s High School, who had served as a member of the Legislative Council, added: ‘I enjoyed the experience far more than I’d expected. I came prepared and was impressed by how the ministers and members kept to the point and gave in-depth replies.’

The Outstanding Participant Award went to Luke Ennett from Castle Rushen High School, who had served as a member of the Legislative Council.

Receiving the award from the President of Tynwald, he said: ‘Junior Tynwald was an eye-opening experience.

‘The sitting not only gave me a valuable insight into how Tynwald operates but also helped me to develop my confidence and public-speaking skills.

‘I was nervous at first but then relaxed into the occasion and I found members very respectful towards us all.

‘I’ve watched clips of parliamentary proceedings on YouTube, but to have the opportunity to witness and take part in a sitting first-hand was very different and most rewarding.

‘I would certainly recommend to future Year 12 students that they consider taking part.’

Reflecting on the sitting, the Speaker of the House of Keys, Juan Watterson, who took part in Junior Tynwald 25 years ago, said: ‘It is great to see the next generation of political talent in action, and putting current members through their paces and asking probing questions on issues that matter to them.

‘For many this will be their first chance to engage in politics, and it’s something we would love to do more of, but are conscious that there are many demands on young people’s time at this age.’