Tom Watson MP visited Glan-y-mor School in Burry Port last week. The Labour MP from Birmingham, who is best known for his vigorous pursuit of the Murdoch press in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, described to pupils his horror at the way that journalists from Murdoch newspaper News of the World had hacked the phone of kidnapped 13-year-old Milly Dowler, even deleting voicemails, which interfered with the police investigation and gave her family false hope that the teenager was still alive. The MP was determined to pursue Murdoch’s journalists for this illegal activity, and subsequently found himself subject to intrusive retaliatory attacks as journalists went through his bins and broke into his garage in attempts to steal papers from him.
In the ensuing discussion, Pupils in Y10 and Y11 at Glan-y-Mor and Bryngwyn Schools kept their guest Tom Watson MP on his toes last week, completely disproving any suggestion that young people do not have considered views on controversial topics. …. And just in case anyone thought they could switch off and daydream, Tom made pupils get up and move to opposite sides of the room according to whether they were against or in favour of bringing back the death penalty, with the not-sures standing in the middle. As well as justifying their views as for, against or not sure on the death penalty, the discussion covered a range of topics from student fees to fracking. But one thing that a clear majority of pupils agreed with Tom Watson on was to lower the voting age to 16.
Commenting on the visit, Nia Griffith MP said, “I have long been a supporter of votes at 16, and the Glan-y-Mor and Bryngwyn pupils demonstrated very clearly that young people are interested in all sorts of issues, and are well able to think about how they might vote.”