Green party calls for young leaders debate for general election

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The Young Greens, the youth branch of the Green Party, have today launched calls for a “Young Leaders” debate.

This comes in response to widespread criticisms that the current proposals for the leaders debates, published on Monday, have excluded the Green party.

There was outrage across social media as it appeared that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage had been invited to speak and not Natalie Bennet, the current leader of the Greens, even though both parties have one MP respectively.

Siobhan McMahon, Co-Chair of the Young Greens, said: “The obvious truth from the proposed TV debates is that broadcasters are struggling to adapt to the new political reality that we face in the UK, with five or more parties all staking legitimate claims to featuring in the debate. The Greens have been unfairly excluded from that process, despite receiving over a million votes in the European Elections and beating the Lib Dems into fourth place.”

The Young Greens' proposal would feature representatives from the youth branches of each of the political parties with MPs in Westminster, and would focus predominantly on issues affecting people aged 30 and under. If TV broadcasters are reluctant to take on the idea it is suggested that this could take place on radio or as The Telegraph, The Guardian and Google have all proposed, be streamed live over an internet platform such as YouTube and Google Hangouts.

Chris Birkett, a spokesman for the Digital Debate Campaign, said: "We believe that one of the debates should be on the biggest video platform in the world, Youtube. More than half of people under the age of 44 get their news from the web rather than television and it's time that politicians moved into the digital age."

Support for the young leaders debate is strong and Clifford Fleming, who is the other Co-Chair of the Young Greens, pointed to the massive engagement of young people in the Scottish Referendum as a reason for launching a Young Leaders debate. Clifford said, “Politicians usually ignore the youth vote because we are less politically engaged, but the Referendum proved that young people do care about politics when they can see the big difference it will make to their futures. It's time that we had a political debate that speaks directly to young people and reflects the issues that really matter to them.”

Siobhan added, “I really hope that representatives from the Youth branches of other Parties will work with us to make a Young Leaders debate happen. We have an opportunity to work together to really engage young people in politics, and have a real debate about the future of our country.”

The Young Greens have grown by over 100% in 2014 alone, with over 4,000 members – making the Young Greens the third largest party among young people.