A 12-YEAR-OLD aspiring politician calling for young people to be given a bigger voice in local government received a round of applause after addressing Bournemouth Councillors.

Michael Bryan, a student at Oak Academy, attended a full council meeting at the town hall on Tuesday evening to ask how children could be encouraged to participate more in politics.

Addressing the council he asked: “Following overspending on the Youth Parliament scheme, why is more not being done to give children a voice in local government?”

“Headteachers and public officials, including the Dorset Police Crime Commissioner and Department of Education ministers, have voiced their concerns , while minimising money beats spending money on schemes which are unpopular among children and have been proven to be ineffective.”

Before replying to the youngster’s questions, Cllr Blair Crawford, cabinet member for adult social care, congratulated Michael on speaking in front of the council.

He said: “It is refreshing to see a young person actively involving themselves in politics and I sincerely hope that you will be the first of many young people to come and ask a question of the council.

Cllr Crawford said although the council did not participate in the UK Youth Parliament Scheme at this time, young people were 'actively encouraged' to have their say over council matters.

He said: “Bournemouth council is fully committed to listening to the voices of young people and encouraging them and getting them involved in making decisions at all levels.”

Cllr Crawford said councillors regularly met with young people at schools and youth clubs and encouraged young people to put forward their views and ideas.

Following the exchange the mayor, Cllr Chris Mayne, asked the schoolboy if he had a favourite politician.

Raucous laughter broke out across the council chamber after the youngster simply said: “I’m a bit divided.”