Woodhouse at Westminster

Dated: 28 March 2018

 
 On the 19th March, 115 of our first year A level politics students visited the Houses of parliament in Westminster to meet an MP and a hereditary peer.
 
Students were initially taken on a guided tour of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and visited both chambers as they heard presentations on the historical significance of aspects of parliament.
 
 
 
Next they got to meet a sitting member of parliament Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East since May 2015. She spoke about her experiences as an MP coming from a working class family background of few qualifications before going to university as a mature adult. Her key message to the students was if you work hard anything is possible and she was an inspirational , straight talking speaker which the students found refreshing. They asked many questions about Brexit, the Labour Party, antisemitism and whether Jeremy Corbyn could really win an election.
 
 
 
Carolyn explained her difficulties of being a remainer on Brexit even though her constituents voted 70% to leave, and how she so now calls for a ‘soft’ Brexit. She later tweeted “It was a pleasure to host politics students from Woodhouse College earlier this week. After a tour of the Houses of Parliament, I met with them for a Q&A session, some brilliant contributions from the group and no doubt they'll be visiting Westminster again in the future!”
 
 
 
After lunch, students visited the Lords committee room where they met John Roundell Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne, and a British peer, ecological expert and businessman. He is one of the 92 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, sitting as a Conservative.
 
Students are currently studying House of Lords reform, party policies and where they stand today, so the trip and guest speakers fed very well into the curriculum.
 
Students enjoyed the Earl’s presentation and quizzed him about conservative policies on the environment and Brexit, as well as House of Lords reform and asked ‘how can we justify an unelected body?’ He told them that ‘in an ideal world there would not be a House of Lords, but what alternative do we currently have?’
 
Students unanimously found the trip interesting, enjoyable and informative (although no official vote was counted).


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