Student's knife crime speech gets standing ovation

Thomas Doris on his feet in the House
Thomas Doris on his feet in the House

It’s not every day a budding politician receives a standing ovation after delivering a short speech in the House of Commons.

But that’s what happened to 17-year-old Thomas Doris after he sat down in Westminster after raising concerns about the growing problem of knife crime.

Among those who got to their feet to applaud Thomas was the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said the St Pius College ‘A’ level student, who is eager to repeat the experience next year.

Thomas was representing the Mid Ulster constituency as part of the UK Youth Parliament which champions issues impacting the lives of young people.

There were five topics up for discussion last Friday in the house, and the Ardboe teenager opted to raise knife crime - dozens of young people have been stabbed to death, particularly in London, since the start of the year.

Although the problem in Mid Ulster is nowhere near London’s level, Thomas says some young people are carrying knives and even bringing them into school.

He said it’s something that teachers now need to become more aware of in the school environment.

After being called by The Speaker, John Bercow, he gave a clear and calm performance to a packed house.

“It was an honour and something I will not be able to forget any time soon,” he admitted.

Thomas has always been interested in politics and was encouraged by his teacher Mr Devlin to get involved in the Youth Parliament.

Once he takes his A levels next summer, he hopes to study Law and Politics.

Long term he might even consider dabbling in politics for real but at the moment he’s quite happy to bask in the attention generated by his debut in the House.

Thomas thanked everyone involved in organising and running the Youth Parliament.