Sixth Form Politics Trip to House of Parliament
St Benedict's A Level Politics students enjoyed a fascinating trip to the House of Parliament this term.
One of St Benedict's Sixth Form Politics students reports:
An intellectually stimulating day led by an equally proficient and cordial tour guide made St Benedict’s Politics Trip to the House of Parliament one to remember.
Entering the Parliamentary Education Centre via airport-style security, we were equipped with headsets and commenced our highly anticipated tour. (A side note for prospective parliament visitors-there are a significant number of stairs to climb.) After conquering a mountain of stairs, we reached St Stephen’s Hall, housing a refined array of statues of prominent figures with august depth and meaning in British history. Amongst them, a missing spur on Viscount Falkland’s statue is a pivotal reference to the plight of the Suffragettes.
After St Stephen’s Hall we faced the central lobby, with the House of Commons on our left and the Lords on our right. But those weren’t the only things that met us: you guessed it, another flight of stairs, subsequently leading us to the public galleries.
It was monumental to observe that certain ideas being debated could be prospective laws that would shape the future of our country. The topic of debate was sewage and how it may harm the future of the UK’s environment, a problem currently receiving a great deal of attention.
After this, we made our way back to the Parliamentary Education Centre for an explanation of the voting systems used in the UK: FPTP (First Past the Post) and SV (Supplementary Voting). It was enticing and informative as we, in our groups, set prospective manifestos-some being very funny indeed. We then met Rupa Huq, the MP for Ealing, who talked us through her journey to becoming an MP, and the strategies she used, and still uses, to reach out to the people of Ealing.
After this enjoyable activity and talk, we encountered the House of Lords, which was in discussion over the missile strikes In Poland which took place earlier in the week. It was not only interesting to see the sophisticated interior design, but also the alarm brought to the members debating when the words ‘Third World War’ were mentioned.
Following a well-deserved interval, we met with Alex Stafford, the Conservative MP for Rother Valley, and an Old Priorian! In his Q and A style session he talked about breaking down the ‘Red Wall’ prevalent in Rother Valley prior to his election as an MP. (He was the first Conservative to be elected for the seat after a history dominated by the Labour Party.) Reflecting on some of the most significant changes made to his constituency, we were left well informed.
Then the most anticipated part of the trip arrived, the Autumn statement, laid out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Jeremy Hunt). Whilst we were not able to view the actual statement, due to the crowds, press, and previously filled seats, we were however able to be present to watch the questions in relation to the Budget itself. What. A. Day!
Angela Ghanem (Lower Sixth)