Sixth Form students in Eastleigh grill parliamentary candidates in Question Time-style debate

  • Sixth form students grilled politicians ahead of the 2024 General Election, as Siri Hampapur reports

Students have held a Question-Time style event to grill parliamentary candidates on topics including immigration, housing and living costs.

Those who are turning 18 will be heading to a polling station for the first-time - so politicians are keen to target the youth vote ahead of the general election expected this autumn.

Students at Barton Peveril sixth form in Eastleigh packed the lecture theatre - ready to put a panel of local politicians under the spotlight.

The event was set up and run by members of the politics society.

  • Alfie Goodall started the society at the sixth form

Alfie Goodall said: "A lot of [young people] care about our future and other people's future.

"Obviously housing is a big issue, because realistically it's not looking like we'll be able to buy a house for ourselves.

"On a global scale I think people care about Israel and Palestine, and Ukraine, and making sure people are okay."

The youth vote will go to the parties that put students at the heart of their policies, as they want to make sure their voices are heard. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Student, Olivia Sundru said: “From speaking to my peers, a lot of them are just trying to find a party that best fits them.

"I feel like for a lot of young people, the people I’ve been speaking to want to vote for a government that would hold our issues to a great importance.”

16-year-old student, Sebastian Amodio said: "I’m not going to be able to vote in the next election but it’s important for me to still know what’s going on because it still matters.

"I live in this country, I should have the right to know what the party wants to do for me and other students.”

Those on the panel spoke about how important it was for them to attend the event. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Darren Paffey, Labour candidate for Southampton Itchen said: "The turnout has been absolutely phenomenal at Barton Peveril.

"Part of the reason to be here is because when you seen young people wanting to ask questions, wanting to grill politicians, wanting to find out things that are going to affect their future, it shows how invested they are."

Geoff Cooper, Lib Dem candidate for Romsey and Southampton North said: "There’s a huge wave of political apathy around the country right now.

"So to see all the fantastic people come out for today and be really engaged in the process - there were some brilliant questions that we had."

Sam Joynson, Conservative candidate for Eastleigh said: "It was so important for me to attend the event tonight because I, just over 10 years ago, was sitting the other side of the debate panel.

"I got involved in politics because I saw young people, I saw local politicians attend events like this and I wanted to be part of this and to give back to the community."

Katherine Barbour, Green candidate for Southampton Test said: "Young people are the people who are going to be dealing with the mess that we’ve made of our world.

"So giving the opportunity to hear their views and to have some dialogue with them is really important."

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…