Politics students visit Westminster
On the 8th of February our school organized an amazing trip to Parliament. We met at the station around 10am and caught the fast train to London Kings Cross where we joined up with the rest of our classmates before heading off to Westminster. Despite the time of year the skies were blue and the sun was shining!
As we entered the Great Hall we were struck by how large and beautiful the building was. We were then introduced to our guide for the rest of our trip. She told us many interesting things about the role of parliament including its job in examining and challenging the work of the government, debating and passing the laws and enabling the government to raise taxes. We had been taught this before in our Politics classes, however it is different when you can feel the atmosphere and know the important issues that are discussed in Parliament.
Our guide showed us through the main hallways, past where citizens can come to lobby their local MP and then past the the sculptures of ex Prime Ministers into the House of the Commons. As we entered the House of Commons the first thing you realise is that it is not as big as it looks on telly. Apparently Churchill wanted it to be quite small so that when there were major debates to do with the nation it would feel intense.
We then went to one of the Select Committee rooms, which was the key purpose of our trip. Select Committees are made up from MPs across parties to investigate particular areas like education and health. They have an important role in helping the government and also holding them to account. We were allowed to sit in the seats! Our guide then told us all about the importance of Select Committees, which we would need later whe we would be debating with our schools.
Our final destination was the House of Lords. It’s completely different from the House of Commons, it’s wider and more elegant from my point of view. Our guide showed us the Queen’s throne, which was painted in gold leaf and apparentlyMichael Jackson wanted to buy it when he saw it!
After the tour we made our way to the Great Debating Chamber where students came from acrossthe UK took part in a debate about the roll and function of Select Committees. Overall the whole the trip was a great experience and we left with a better understanding of how parliament works.
Thank you Joel and Angela for organising the trip!!