Rory Weal, 16, gets Labour delegates' standing ovation

 
Rory Weal Rory Weal, 16, speaks during the Labour Party conference at the Echo Arena in Liverpool

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I've already heard this afternoon described as a "William Hague moment" - when a teenage William Hague addressed the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool in front of Margaret Thatcher in 1977.

This time the teenager was a 16-year-old from Maidstone called Rory Weal.

He confidently took to the podium to address delegates. In a passionate speech he told them that young people are getting "a pretty raw deal" and he said he's been directly affected by the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance.

He's taken a week off from school to be at the conference, but hadn't expected to be called to give a speech.

He simply put his hand up and, not fazed by the 2,000-strong audience, achieved something which will make many shadow cabinet members envious. He received a standing ovation and a pat on the back (literally) from the party's leader Ed Miliband.

Youth appeal

Rory, who only joined the party after the last general election, is exactly the kind of young person Labour wants to attract.

Another two activists from the South East at this week's conference are Matthew Butt, a youth worker from Chatham, and Helena Dollimore from Heathfield.

Matthew says: "Looking at how central government's policies are affecting local authorities - it's having a devastating impact on young people."

Despite the fact Labour no longer has an MP in the South East, he believes the party is still relevant in the region.

He adds: "If we can win back the South East, we can win back government."

Helena welcomes the announcement that Labour would, if in government, cap student tuition fees at £6,000 - as opposed to the £9,000 limit imposed by the coalition.

Labour have had to work hard to attract new members. But despite the terrible losses they suffered at the last election there is evidence that people are still joining the party - membership has increased by 8000 members in the South East.

All three young delegates say Labour is the only party listening to young people like them. The party certainly sat up and listened to a young activist from Maidstone today.

If Labour is to reach out in the South East. it'll need to attract more young people, like Rory, to show the party has changed and is listening.

Labour has had to work hard to attract new younger members. But despite the terrible losses they suffered at the last election, there is evidence people are still joining the party - with membership increasing by 8,000 in the South East.

 
Louise Stewart Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    Well Done Rory!

    You have trounced William Hague with a genuine, natural intonation devoid of affectation or theatrical play to satisfy a dictator in the audiance.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 21.

    Can't belive the school let him out for the week - when I was a school I would have been in trouble!
    Also who did his speach because it was a massive bend to the truth and if he's got such big money problem - how can he live in a 4 bedroom semi-detached house - I can only just like in a flat (shared ownership is all I can afford) and I work! His idea of poor isn't the same as the rest of the UK

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    It's fazed, not phased.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 19.

    Hmm will the reporter who wrote this pile of rubbish now review it in light of the TRUTH regarding this idiot's background? Basically he's a well off toff.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 18.

    Louise, this article reads like a Labour pamphlet! Have you seen that Rory is a 'good actor', who normally (according to his classmates) has a 'posh voice' and lives in a £300k semi in an expensive area, goes to a Grammar school, and has an iPad (struggling for money for stationery at school?) He is just as fake as Tony Blair, Grodon Brown, Harriet Harman and the rest of the champagne socialists!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 17.

    He's not a market trader too, is he?

    'Cos from what I am reading in media that checks news before they rush to print, Labour and BBC seem to be bedfellows when it comes to actually doing any due diligence of those they feel are great representatives of the narrative.

    Sadly, events, dear girl, seem to be rather catching up.

    These days, an hour is a long time in politics.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    So at the next election do I go for the middle-class Conservatives, the middle-class Liberals or maybe middle-class Labour? Politics is saturated with middle-class know it alls who actually think they are normal working class types. The hype and praise which this boy has recieved is proof positive that Labour is fast becoming the party of the middle-class

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    I don't recall William Hague whingeing that he couldn't afford to buy a pencil and ruler to go to school or, for that matter, the shoe leather to walk there. Downgrade your mobile phone to a cheaper tarrif, Rory and stop moaning like everyone else in the Labour party. Set a new standard and take some responsibility.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    Democracy is great, however it may not hold all the answers. We have seen how the grey brigade have made young peoples lives more difficult, but young people need to realise that stealing trainers wont win their vote. Well done to Rory for voicing the concerns of the next generation in a way that might make this a proud country once again.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    Brilliant speech, young Rory. How long can the government keep blaming the Labour Party for all the problems we have at the moment. I thought some ot it was due to the banks and the recession which is happening all all over the world!. Lack of housing is also partly due to the selling off of all the council houses by the Tory Government. Good luck Rory for the future.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 12.

    So he says his house got repossessed two and a half years ago - perhaps someone should remind him who was actually in government at that time - and had been for the previous ten years??

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 11.

    Interesting that Rory's socialist principles didn't extend to embracing the comprehensive education system. He's a pupil at a good old Kent grammar school.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    Et al, young Rory may be too young to remember all of the things which previous posters have accused him of, but clearly you've all forgotten or chosen to forget the Tory decades before Labour which saddled the UK with many of the problems which have wrecked and continue to wreck our economy for instance deregulation of banking, dodgy privatisations or the trashing of the UK's manufacturing base.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    The labour party spending almost bankrupted the UK and left behind a generation who are reliant on the government,and it's a shame the party used this boy as gimmick trying to drum up support for a system that will never work.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 8.

    Sorry, but did anyone actually listen to what this kid said -- "Two and a half years ago, the house that I was born in was repossessed." So the family bought this house preboom in the Southeast at least 14 years ago (i.e., for relatively nothing) probably pulled more than £100k in equity out of it, then couldn't afford the debt payments. Sums up the nonsense of the Labour Party quite nicely.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 7.

    Good speech delivered with maturity. Unfortunately the Party he has just joined are culpable of bringing the country to where it is now. We have several years ahead where the only option is living within our means. The ones who will probably feel this most acutely are Rorys' generation. Hopefully he will find an ambition outside of politics where he can make a real difference.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 6.

    Hes young not stupid!!(twit is far too rude and shows your limited inteligence "jobsagoodin") We all know every goverment has good points and bad ones. I am 21 and my family and I are still feeling the effects of the last Tory goverment. Therefore i belive, if he is too young to remember past goverments, im sure he knows, understands and feels effects of the past.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    Rory your most probably aware that Labours spending, world financial turmoil plus and an unregulated banking system caused Labours downfall, the public ousted Labour but still the public continue to bail out the uncontrolled millionaire bankers. Many now criticize Labours spending, many who enjoyed the benefits at the time benefits they will surely not receive under the coalition.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    'Rory, who only joined the party after the last general election, is exactly the kind of young person Labour wants to attract.'

    Yes, a clueless twit. He supports the party that burdended both his generation and the next with a record level of debt.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 3.

    Perhaps he should look back and see which Government introduced Uni' fees in the 1st place - it was Labour!!!
    Maybe if they had not wasted £15billion on the NHS IT system they needn't have had to charge people for an education.
    Ironic isn't it that the very people who introduced Uni' fees were the very people who benefitted by NOT having to pay!
    Shameful.

 

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