History in the making: sixth-formers hear politicians debate Ukraine on visit to Houses of Parliament

History in the making: sixth-formers hear politicians debate Ukraine on visit to Houses of Parliament

Sixth-formers studying Politics had a ringside seat as the House of Commons debated the war in Ukraine.

The 28 A-level students on a visit to Westminster watched as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss answered questions from MPs and described measures the Government was taking to help Ukraine. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy responded for the Opposition, questioning whether enough was being done.

Politics teacher Liam Hargadon said: “We don’t always have the chance to see the Commons at work, so boys were really lucky to see top ministers debating the great issue of our time.”

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, whose constituency includes QE, was also in the chamber endeavouring, ultimately unsuccessfully, to put a question.

The visit to the Palace of Westminster is normally an annual event for Year 12 Politics students, but Covid caused the cancellation of the trip last year, so this year both Year 12 and Year 13 boys went.

During their visit, the boys met Old Elizabethan James Cartlidge MP (OE 1985-1992), a junior minister in the Justice Department. He shared his fond memories of being an independent candidate in QE’s 1992 mock General Election and of hearing from visiting speakers from the political world while at the School.

“It was brilliant to see James Cartlidge again after 30 years,” said Mr Hargadon, who was the minister’s A-level Politics teacher back in 1992. “He has such fond memories of his time at QE and he’s clearly heading for high office. He was so generous with his time.”

During their visit to the Palace of Westminster, the group took in the House of Lords, Westminster Hall, the Royal Gallery and the Central Lobby.

The boys were accompanied not only by their teachers, but also by the three student teachers – Evan Burns, Nathaniel Austin-Mathley, and Ben Duncan – who are with QE this year as part of the long-established internship programme with the University of Connecticut.

The final part of the trip involved seeing political and historical landmarks in the Westminster area, including Parliament Square, with its statues of great statesmen and women, the nearby UK Supreme Court, Downing Street and the site of execution of King Charles I outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall.