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Students Celebrate First Ever Female MP With Debate On Lowering Voting Age

Victoria Atkins MP and Philip Dickinson, Principal of Louth Academy, with students who took part in a debate at St James’ Church, Louth on the subject of lowering the voting age to 16. They are: (l-r) Olivia Cooper, Jasmine Dodds, Femke Tiggelman, Rebecca Stainton, and Arabella Bishop with their certificates for taking part. The debate marked the 100th anniversary of the election of the first ever British-born female MP, who represented Louth.

Students from Louth Academy impressed MP Victoria Atkins with their debating skills when they took part in an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the election of the first British-born female MP.

Margaret Wintringham was elected on September 22 1921 and represented the Louth constituency from 1921-1924. During her time as an MP, Margaret stood up for important issues, including women’s rights and equal pay, and campaigned for female suffrage.

To make the occasion, the current MP Victoria Atkins hosted an exhibition at St James’ Church in Louth, which showcased Margaret Wintringham’s work locally, local democracy and the suffragette movement. Parliament’s life-size statue of a female suffragette made entirely out of Lego was also on view at the exhibition.

Year 11 students from Louth Academy joined others from King Edward V1 Grammar School for a debate, chaired by the MP, in which they discussed whether the legal voting age should be lowered to 16.

Louth Academy student Arabella Bishop (15) said: “I think it should happen and the reason for that being because you are given so many responsibilities within society that can make you struggle so much. Why then shouldn’t you be able to make decisions within that society?

“I know people that have had to struggle with teenage pregnancy and have had to do so many things but they have not been able to make decisions for their children or make proper decisions for the world they live in.”

Jasmine Dodds (15) agreed. She said: “We are treated like adults in so many ways, doing exams that are going to determine our future, so why can’t we vote because that will also determine our future in a bigger, more impactful way. We have so many responsibilities and those who are mature enough to and will make proper decisions that will benefit our society are the ones who will show up and vote.”

Victoria Atkins said: “I am delighted to have been able to host this exhibition and this debate today. We want our young people to take an active interest in politics. We have seen from recent world events how we should cherish democracy and world law and we need people to participate in politics for that to happen.”

Philip Dickinson, Principal of Louth Academy, said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to take part in this event and to tour the exhibition with Victoria Atkins. The students were very enthusiastic in their opinions and I am proud of how they stood up for themselves and put across some very credible arguments during the debate.”

Year 11 student Olivia Cooper plans her speech.

Year 11 student Arabella Bishop debates lowering the voting age to 16.

Year 11 student Jasmine Dodds puts forward her views.

The exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the election of the first British-born female MP Margaret Wintringham, who represented Louth.

Rebecca Stainton (Year 11) takes part in the debate.

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Louth Academy

Philip C Dickinson
BA (Hons) MA PGCE.