I want to talk about something that we don’t talk about enough in politics: our young people.

As we embark on what is likely to be a five-year parliament, our focus must be on listening and taking action on behalf of, and with, the young in our communities. They are our future.

That starts with protecting our planet for future generations. Last Friday, I was proud to support the school climate strike in Oxford’s Bonn Square. Government is still not listening to their concerns and their passionate cries for the climate emergency to be properly addressed. I will continue to support their strikes until this government takes more action to tackle climate change.

Focusing on the young in our society also means giving them the opportunities that schemes such as Erasmus have given to so many, and not compromising our access to these European programmes in the next stage of Brexit negotiations. Two weeks ago, I pushed an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement that would have required the government to negotiate access, but the Conservatives voted it down.

Erasmus has enriched generations of young people not just economically, but culturally too. It’s allowed them to go abroad, meet new people, learn new languages and put down roots abroad. It has also done wonders for social mobility, something that any UK-created alternative scheme would find it very difficult to replicate due to budgetary constraints.

This is about pragmatism, not ideology. Protecting the planet for the next generation and investing in their future through schemes such as Erasmus are no-brainers. They’re practical solutions to two of the biggest problems we all face: a lack of social mobility and a climate crisis.

We need to think locally, too. Last week, I visited the Oxford Baby Bank at Cowley Methodist Church. These community projects are a fantastic example of what we can do in our own back yard to help families with young children who are struggling. By offering clothes and equipment to those in need of our help, the Baby Bank sets an example we can all follow. I would urge you to visit their website (https://theoxfordbabybank.co.uk/) and help if you can.

This is about aspiration; not only that of our young people to achieve the change they want to see and do the things they want to do, but also our own aspiration to leave our society and our planet in a fit state for them to inherit.

They deserve better than a climate emergency that we have failed to tackle, and the closing off of opportunities that many of us enjoyed in our youth. Let’s focus on the young.