Mayor Jamie Driscoll urged young politicians to take risks and be true to themselves at a Youth Parliament event in Newcastle.

Invited to address the European Youth Parliament UK north east regional session at Newcastle University, Mayor Driscoll said authenticity was key to being an effective politician.

“Often people choose to play the role society gives them,” he told the crowd of around 50 pupils from 60 schools across the North East. “My advice is to tell the truth. Think about what you really believe and don’t be afraid to sometimes say: ‘you know what? I need to think about this a bit more’. It is the authenticity that matters.”

The EPYUK session was held on March 10 at Newcastle University’s new £58m Urban Sciences Building on the £350m Newcastle Helix Regeneration site near St James’ Park football stadium. EPYUK is a politically unbound charity that introduces young people aged between 11 and 24 to politics.

Its aims are:

  • To educate young people around local, national and European issues;
  • To provide a forum for young people to express their opinions and to make their voices heard;
  • To build new skills among young people, preparing them for the future;
  • To develop a strong sense of community and citizenship.

EPYUK vice president Megan Irving said: “Doing EYP has taught me so much. It’s helped me with my confidence, it’s helped me with me people skills; everything. It pushed my boundaries, it’s taught me about people, politics, and I’m happier and more confident as a result.”