With friends like these

14th July 2000 at 01:00
(Photograph) - With friends like these.... Anne Widdecombe, shadow home secretary, and Clare Short, Secretary of State for Overseas Development, flanked by aspiring fellow politicians at the national prize-giving for this year's Motorola Youth Parliament Competition in Westminster. Anthony White (left), of Kingswood College in Ormskirk, Lancashire, won the Best Prime Minister prize for a charismatic performance as a Tory premier in his school's video mock-up of Prime Minister's Question Time.

(His chosen prize? John Major's autobiography.) Andrew Watson (right) of Dumfries Academy, won the Best Leader of the Opposition award. The judges thought he showed promising Rottweiler tendencies. But, a keen Scottish Nationalist, he is unlikely ever to fill William Hague's shoes. Prizes for the national winners of the ninth annual competition, sponsored by Motorola and organised by the Citizenship Foundation, were presented at a star-tudded reception in the House of Lords. Best School was Simon Langton grammar school in Canterbury, Kent, which submitted a lively debate on the motion "that the British head of state be elected." Best back-bencher was Paul Evans from St Michael's Roman Catholic comprehensive school in Stockton-on-Tees (runner-up in the Best School category). Best Speaker (of the House) was Felicity Galt of St Leonard's school, Fife, and Best press officer was Carrie Wilson from William Farr school, Lincoln. The competition aims to encourage participation in politics by inviting secondary schools to submit a short video of a mock parliamentary session. This year, nearly 140 schools took part and 86 entered a video, from which seven regional winners were selected. All winners received two-way radios from Motorola. Write your own picture caption at www.tes.co.uk and win an Oddbins voucher. Photograph by JEZ COULSON.

Biddy Passmore.

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