More than 50 Nottingham students crammed into Committee Room 6 of the House of Commons on 19 November. The third-year students, all taking the School’s popular module ‘Parliament in the United Kingdom’ module, were treated to a star billing of speakers as part of their course.
Those talking to the students included the new Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. He delighted students by answering every single one of their questions, staying well beyond his scheduled twenty-minute slot.
The day had been opened by Sir George Young, the Conservative Shadow Leader of the House. Drawing on his experience of Parliament dating back to 1974, he answered a wide range of questions covering the effectiveness of Liaison Committees to the use of the Parliament Act.
Dr Tony Wright, Chairman of the new Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, was followed by the Government Chief Whip, Nick Brown.
Two MPs closely connected with Nottingham completed the line-up. Jeremy Browne, a former President of the Students’ Union at the University and now MP for Taunton, talked about how the Liberal Democrats fare in Parliament; while Dr Nick Palmer, Labour MP for marginal Broxtowe, explained how he tried to juggle his constituency work and his scrutiny role at Westminster.
One third-year student, Jamie Black, commented afterwards: ‘It was a brilliant day. I haven't had so much fun since going to Question Time last year. The highlight for me was questioning John Bercow, the Speaker of the House, on the issue of funding in his electoral campaign’.
Each year, around 50 students take the Parliament in the UK module. Each has to produce a research paper based on primary research into Parliament, and the annual field trip is the culmination of the module.
Posted on Monday 30th November 2009