The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) elections 2021 opened on Monday, November 8, providing young people the opportunity to have their say on candidates.

Two candidates from East Ayrshire are standing to represent the Carrick Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency (CCDV).

The SYP consists of Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) who play an active role in making sure that Scotland is inclusive and empowering for young people. In order to do this, MSYPs have a duty to consult with young people in their constituency to identify areas of improvement, with the aim of seeking solutions alongside fellow MSYPs.

The young people from East Ayrshire standing to represent CCDV are the incumbent, Liam Armstrong and also Lillie McLuskie.

Liam said: “Currently being your MSYP has been an amazing experience where I’ve been able to listen, understand and advocate for young people’s issues. By helping young people to shout what they want changed and learning to stand up to decision makers is what really makes being an MSYP, and is the main reason I want to be re-elected.

“Young people should be at the heart of decision making, especially when it concerns them, and this is what urged me initially to run for SYP back in 2019, and it is what urges me today. I have always fought for the unheard voice in the room and fought for issues close to young people’s hearts such as mental health, the climate crisis, and more.”Being an MSYP allows me to bring these forward to the limelight and makes young people heard democratically.

Lillie said: “I want to be an MYSP, for a few reasons. My main reason being that I am a lot younger than most MYSP candidates/members as I am only 14, meaning that I would be a good representative for those not aged to yet vote, and I can provide the views of a young Scottish person. I feel that this would provide a good balance between other people, as some MYSPs can vote, I feel that it would be beneficial for someone younger to become part of the team.

Another reason I feel that I would be a good addition is that I have a lot of confidence when it comes to things such as public speaking and debating, and I feel very comfortable talking in front of large numbers of people, of any age group. And finally, I know I will greatly enjoy SYP.”

Liam and Lillie will be going up against three candidates from South Ayrshire for the CCDV constituency. One will be chosen from South and one from East Ayrshire.