Lower VI: Visit to the Houses of Parliament.
Thursday 14th March 2019
Government and Politics to the fore.
With Brexit at the forefront of people’s minds, watching debates in the House of Commons is becoming quite addictive! Lower VI pupils Jasmine Dawuda and Nell Dobson were part of the group of A Level Government and Politics students to see debates live on their recent visit to the Houses of Parliament. Here, they report on their visit.
‘On Monday 4th March the politics class of Lower VI were fortunate enough to visit to the Houses of Parliament, accompanied by Mr Murphy.
We were taken on a tour of the building, where we were shown different well-known spots that we had seen on television and learnt about in our politics lessons. One of the first rooms we were taken to was St Stephen’s Hall, where we were told that the statue of Viscount Falkland, a key feature of the hall, was actually missing a spur which had broken off while a suffragette, who had chained herself to the statue, was being de-chained! To witness this detail was a thought-provoking reminder of all women had gone through in the past in the cause of women’ suffrage. This was something we kept firmly in mind during the rest of the tour. We also viewed the front lobby, where we stood in the very spot used by journalists interviewing politicians during the heat of the current Brexit debate.
Not only this, but we were lucky enough to sit in on debates in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, in which knife crime and how to approach the solutions, a very topical issue at the moment, was discussed. It was fascinating to witness the initial steps in achieving bigger outcomes around subjects that affect society.
Another interesting part of our visit to Parliament was the sit-down panel discussion we saw and took part in with MPs from the Labour, Conservative and SNP Parties. There were a wide range of topics discussed, such as the effectiveness of referenda and the effectiveness of the House of Commons in scrutinising the government. It was very interesting to see the conflicting opinions and loyalties of each MP and, when the debate was opened up to the floor, it was fascinating to see how each MP would avoid answering a question outright. Indeed, two members from our school asked questions during the panel and it was highly engaging to see how the MPs went about answering each question. The overall experience was incredibly thought-provoking as several ideas were brought forward and discussed with different points of view that we might not have gleaned from our usual politics lessons.
We them went on to meet with MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Dr Rupa Huq. We asked her a variety of questions, ranging from what she did as an MP on a daily basis, to upcoming development plans in Ealing (she disclosed that the cinema in Dickens Yard will not be ready until 2021 so unfortunately we have a while to wait!). We all greatly appreciated Dr Huq taking time out of her busy day to come and speak with us, and overall we had a very informative and insightful day at the Houses of Parliament.’