Politics: Lower Sixth Students Debate in and Explore Parliament

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On the 30th January, Bede's Lower Sixth Government and Politics students went to the Westminster Parliament in order to have the 'Select Committee experience'.

We started our trip in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the palace, where we met our guide and were given a brief history of the hall. Dating back to 1097, Westminster Hall has been the sight of some incredibly famous historical events, including the trial of King Charles I and the laying in state of Winston Churchill.

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We then moved on to central lobby, the heart of Parliament, where the House of Lords, Commons, Westminster Hall and rest of the palace meet. There we learnt about the process of passing a bill through Parliament - which, needless to say, is a lengthy and ceremonious procedure!

We then entered the House of Commons, walking through one of the voting corridors either side of the hall, where we learnt about the way voting happens within the chambers. Then, in the House, we stood on the Opposition Benches, where we were further educated on the processes of securing a place to sit and cover events in the House in the media.

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This was followed by the main focus of the trip; the Select Committees.

Within the committee rooms, we had an excellent and informative workshop on how Select Committees work and the processes involved, all resulting in a mock committee hearing where Oliver Marks and Henry Vine were thoroughly scrutinised on "their government's economic policies".

This experience proved to be of vital importance in the final part of the trip - a debate against two other schools on the effectiveness of Select Committees. Before this though, we quickly visited the House of Lords where we were awed by the splendour of it all; the throne, exquisitely decorated roof and general sense of power and opulence was truly staggering!

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Then, the time came to debate and, after some quick preparation, Bede's managed to create a strong and well thought-out argument in favour of select committees, which we proceeded to deliver in authentic parliamentary style; cheering and grumbling in response to statements and referring to ourselves as "the rights honourable ladies" and/or "gentlemen."

Irritatingly, there was no declared winner, yet we left with an inner sense of pride and a far greater knowledge of the workings of The Mother of Parliaments.

 

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