Politics visit to Parliament

At the end of April, government and politics students visited the Houses of Parliament, and Isabella Abid in year 12.

"All sixth formers studying Government and Politics went on the trip to the UK houses of Parliament. For some, it was their first time in London, and for many, the first time visiting and touring the houses of parliament.

Once we arrived in London, we used the London Underground to go from Kings Cross St Pancras to Embankment. We all made it, despite the hectic environment! For lunch we walked around the South bank of the river Thames, next to Jubilee Gardens, very close to the London Eye. On our way to Parliament, we were able to briefly look at the many sights that London has to offer, including the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square and a quick glimpse of Buckingham Palace.

On arrival at the Parliament education centre, we went through airport-like security, leaving our bags and phones behind. This was no surprise as we had seen many armed police officers around the area due to the recent terrorist attack that took place. Nothing seemed uneasy or unusual and London has carried on with a “business as usual” attitude. We took the time to remember PC Keith Palmer, the police officer who died protecting the area of Westminster, a noble and selfless man.

When in Parliament, we walked to the main lobby, were split into groups, and began our tour. We started off in the public gallery of the House of Commons, which was still in session. We listened to the exchanges between Andrea Leadsom, the environment secretary and her opposition. They were discussing high levels of sulphur dioxide and the NOx gases in certain parts of the UK. We did the same thing in the House of Lords and looked at features of both houses. Soon after we discussed the functions of both houses and features such as crossbencher seats in the House of Lords (peers with no party allegiance).  The final venue on the tour was Westminster hall, the oldest part of the building, where many political figures have given speeches, had royal banquets, and eventually had respects paid to them after their passing.

The Architecture was stunning and gave us a sense of the political culture in London, not only that, but the meaning of our course. We were then put into a classroom type setting and were split into three groups representing political parties and putting the work on electoral systems we were consolidating into context. This was useful as we could all see the advantages and disadvantages of different systems which is relevant to our course.

The highlight of the day was a Q&A with our local MP Philip Davies, who was more than happy to answer any questions that were asked of him, even the very difficult ones! We may not have all agreed with him on his policies, but found that we left Parliament feeling that Mr Davies was able to justify his ideas. He was also able to inform us more on how things work in that political setting. Our group asked him many questions such as his views on women, his voting record and views on other political figures.

Overall, we had a wonderful day and as it’s towards the end of the year it was a great educational experience to have before we sit AS and A2 level exams.

Philip Davies is also happy to answer any questions anyone may have, whether wedisagree with him or not. I personally found that the most important thing I learnt was that disagreement and debate both make politics what it is, different ideas, beliefs and opinions."

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