To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 41211, whether the Government is taking steps to make it possible for under-18s to submit questions for the Government’s Covid-19 press conferences.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
3 June 2020
We are mindful of the importance and value of young people being able to contribute their views on how the Government, and the country, can collectively tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Notwithstanding, I would note that members of the public who ask questions, particularly those who are filmed, place themselves in the public eye to a significant extent – both on television, but also subsequently are subject to comment on social media.
There are practical issues with children being subjected to such scrutiny, without parental consent and involvement. As it stands, parents and carers can ask questions on behalf of under-18s as a way for them to participate in the daily press conferences.
The Government is actively considering alternative options for under-18s to submit questions to ministers. For example, we have organised a virtual assembly in conjunction with NSPCC, hosted by Ant & Dec where the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families will answer questions from children on our response to Covid-19.