On Wednesday 27th February, over 150 young people from across the UK gathered at the Houses of Parliament for the third time, to lobby their MPs in support of a People’s Vote.
Upon arrival, we were met by Caroline Lucas, Chuka Umunna and Jo Swinson who each spoke to us about why we need a People’s Vote. More importantly, they reassured us that what we are doing is having an impact and encouraged us to continue campaigning for a People’s Vote. Such encouragement was welcomed as, up until very recently, it seemed as though a People’s Vote was highly unlikely, despite campaign groups across the country demanding it for years now.
Once we were in Parliament, some of us were taken to one of the committee rooms in the House of Lords where Lord Adonis came and spoke to each one of us personally, once more inspiring us to keep demanding a better future for our country. Furthermore, it was a great moment for the leaders of OFOC Northern Ireland to get the chance to meet Jeremy Corbyn and thank him for coming out in support of a People’s Vote - especially since they had woken up at 3am to fly over for the Parliament Takeover!
Whilst we were queuing to get into the Houses of Parliament I spoke to Shona, an 18 year old school girl from Harpenden, who was under the voting age at the time of the first referendum. She had missed a day of school and come down to London by herself because she is deeply concerned about the impact Brexit will have on on her area and on the country as a whole. Furthermore, she expressed frustration that people of her age are being denied the right to have a say in their own future.
As many young people understandably feel disillusioned with the situation and ignored by their MPs it has become difficult to discuss the issue of Brexit with friends and to convince them to get involved in campaigning for our own future. That is why is was particularly heartening firstly, to take part in the OFOC Parliament Takeovers with other like-minded young people and secondly, to have over 60 MPs take time out of their incredibly busy schedules to come and engage with us, hear our concerns, and show us that our voices are being listened to.
Nicola Toomey is an OFOC activist who came down for our Parliament Takeover on 27th February