Engaging young people in politics is so important.

That’s why I organise the Watford Debating Competition every year, and I invite all local schools to take part. I have found the competition is a great way for students to gain public speaking experience and boost confidence. It’s also a very enjoyable day!

This year six local schools battled it out for the Cup in the Houses of Parliament. They had to impress a panel of respected judges, including The Times columnist Lord Daniel Finkelstein, Linda McIntyre from Watford Workshop, Lord Jon Mendelsohn and Cllr Frances Button.

Teams of students from Years 10 to 13 took part from Watford Boys, Parmiter’s, Watford Girls, Kings Langley, St Clement Danes and Queens’ debating interesting topics such as Brexit, climate change, faith schools and the Green Belt.

As with every year, it was fierce competition, and I know that the judges found it very difficult to pick a winner. But there has to be one, and I was very pleased to crown students from St Clement Danes as this year’s debating champions. As well as winning the title, students took home a trophy, £100 of Amazon vouchers and I have also arranged for them to meet the House of Commons Speaker.

Every year I’m so impressed by the high quality of debates, which is hardly surprising given the excellent schools in our area! I’d like to thank all the schools that took part, as well as our illustrious panel of judges and co-chairs. I’m looking forward to organising next year’s already.

  • Richard Harrington is Conservative MP for Watford