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Speaker Bercow Chairs Bloxham Sixth Form Debate

Published Wednesday 29th of April 2015 03:09:43 PM

On Friday 13th March, Bloxham were delighted to welcome the Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, to the school to meet some students and members of the school community.

The Great Hall was full of Sixth Formers, members of the local community and friends of the school for this morning's talk with the Rt. Hon. John Bercow. Everyone enjoyed the Speaker's hugely entertaining and engaging talk, in which he stressed to the audience that politics really matters. Mr Speaker explained that he understood that many people were frustrated by the political process and switched off to the �cacophony of noise� sometimes heard in the House. However, he urged them to remain interested in the political process for it played a critical part in their everyday issues of jobs, healthcare and community.

He explained his role as Speaker, which he described as that of �referee,� was to try to preserve order and facilitate enquiry. Like a Headmaster, he wanted to preserve order, encourage people to take part, and to try to avoid people being excluded!

Impressively, the Speaker is able to name each of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons, as well as their constituencies. In inviting MPs to speak, he tries to achieve a range of views are heard, and balance between the Government and Opposition, newly elected MPs and those of long standing, men and women, and parts of the country and devolved nations.

Speaking on the importance of engaging young people in Parliament, he said he looked forward to the opening of a new Education Centre at Westminster, the construction of which he had authorised two years ago. He enjoyed welcoming the Youth Parliament to Westminster and believed that to earn young people�s respect, it had to be given first.

During questions from the students, Mr Speaker was asked if he believed in lowering the voting age to 16 and if he favoured voting online.

The morning then closed with an interesting parliamentary-style debate between our Sixth Form Politics students, who were responding to the topic of "Does democracy work in the UK in the 21st Century?" Each student stood up and presented their thoughts, either arguing in favour of the current system of democracy in the UK or supporting the need for reform.

Congratulations to all the students who took part in this thought-provoking debate and huge thanks to the Rt. Hon. John Bercow for taking time out of his busy schedule to come and speak at the school this morning.
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