On 15 March the Politics students travelled to London for a tour of the Houses of Parliament. It was a very exciting time to visit due to the ongoing negotiations concerning the UK’s departure from the European Union. We began with a tour of the buildings, a peek into the House of Commons and House of Lords, a workshop on legislation and a Q&A session with Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham. Our tour guides and educational facilitator were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and we found much to discuss. It was fascinating to see government in action during a tense time in British history.
The day kicked off with a tour of the House of Parliaments, giving us an insight of the historical background of the site, all the way from the 11th century to the commotion of Brexit which has now taken over. This was followed by a look into the House of Lords, where we were able to spectate a discussion regarding various statutory instruments for Brexit. After this, we moved on to the House of Commons, where there was ongoing talk about the motion to extend Article 50 which was to be debated later on in the evening. All of this gave us a deeper understanding of the structure and routine in both the chambers, along with the opportunity to watch Brexit talks live and for some of us, being able to see some MPs with love or maybe dislike! Throughout the tour, our guide narrated the history of the Houses of Parliament and the significance of the Westminster Hall and the Central Lobby, which all enriched our knowledge about the history of the Houses of Parliament.
We were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop where we had the opportunity to create, propose and debate our own bill. We re-enacted the stages of a bill regarding the legality of marijuana in the UK. Not only was this useful as we could revise the stages of a bill, which is part of our course on the UK legislature; it was also fun to be in the shoes of our policy makers and understand the complexity of the process.
Overall, the part of the day I found most interesting was when our local MP Tim Loughton came in to speak to us and we were lucky enough to be able to ask him questions. It was of no surprise that many of the questions were about Brexit, and it was intriguing to get the view of a Conservative MP who works so close to us. Later, he went on to talk about the committees he is a member of and went into detail of the structure and characteristics of committees - once again more revision for us..
All in all, this day was full of information, some new to us and some we knew already; all useful to enrich our knowledge for our exams.
Tanya M, Upper Sixth