Leader of the House addresses the UK Youth Parliament

Speech delivered by Penny Mordaunt MP, Leader of the House of Commons, on 17 November 2023

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP

Thank you for being here.

Many powerful men and women have sat in the seats you are sitting in today.

What may surprise you is that all of them, for at least for some of their careers, would feel nervous, just as I’m sure some of you are nervous about today.

You might be feeling fear and dread as to how well you are going to do today.

But to be here, many of you, in fact all of you, will have had to show courage. To overcome the dread and many other obstacles to be here.

The dread that says that you don’t belong here, or that you’re not good enough to be here.

So as Leader of the Commons let me give you some advice for today.

The dread is your friend.

The dread means you are never going to be underprepared or complacent.

The dread means you have already overcome your fears because you feel so strongly a call to serve others, and that means you’re going to be good at what you’re going to do today.

The dread compelled you to know yourself and what is in your hearts.

So if you are nervous today, that is good, be reassured and use that energy to do something wonderful here. Listen, learn and inspire others.

I wish you well today and you have chosen an excellent theme and topics, and it has been my privilege to help some of you from my neck of the woods prepare for today - in one of my schools, with teachers, dinner ladies, local authority directors, testing your ideas and answering your questions.

And I wanted to give you some words of advice to spur you on today and forever to live fulfilled lives in the service of one another.

The words I am going to say to you now are not the words of Wilberforce or Churchill.

They are from a student called Keith.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centred.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you do good today it will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

Members, do not underestimate what you can accomplish, do not doubt the good you can do. And do not forget the importance of having fun while you are doing it.

Welcome to the House of Commons.

Cabinet Office
The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP