NICK Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent was the Master of Ceremonies at Voice Box, a joke-telling competition for youngsters whose finals took place this week at Westminster.

Joined by comedian Lee Mack, the contest was a joint initiative by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and The Communication Trust, to raise awareness of the importance of communication.

According to the RCSLT, communication disability is the most common disorder seen in childhood, affecting up to one in 10 children. Mr Smith was on hand to congratulate the seven-year-old winner Jack Johnson.

Mr Smith said: “As a former Director at the RCSLT, I got to see first-hand some of the good work being done.

“My own jokes are more likely to be greeted with tomatoes than applause, so it was great to see these young children have the confidence to deliver theirs in front of a big audience.

Kamini Gadhok, RCSLT CEO, said: “The aim of Voice Box is to remind people that in every classroom, there are children who need support to help them speak and understand what is being said to them.

“It’s been a brilliant day and Jack and his fellow finalists have been inspiring.”

Lee Mack, comedian, said: “I was expecting tears and tantrums but all the MPs were well behaved. I was pleased to see such an important cause given a platform. I think my job is under threat by this new wave of comedians.”