QE sixth-formers heard from leading cross-party politicians at a day conference that touched upon topics ranging from Brexit to humanitarian issues in conflict zones.
Yet despite all this, there was a single appeal that rang out loud and clear, according to Year 12’s Eshan Patel: “Over the course of the event, one key message was expressed; that young people were vital in politics and were needed for the future of the country.”
Parliamentarians including Commons Speaker John Bercow, Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan and Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Jess Phillips made the call, making clear that young people were needed “to help increase the work that has already been done towards equality for women and minorities”.
The 2017 A-Level Politics Conference featured talks from currently serving politicians, who also answered the sixth-formers’ questions.
Brexit was a repeated point of focus. Speakers including Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer discussed a ‘soft Brexit’, the importance of access to the single market and matters of economic policy. Tory Remainer Anna Soubry discussed the approach of Theresa May in the negotiation process, standing strongly behind her.
High-profile Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured with three QE students) spoke on traditional values within politics, while the Liberal Democrats’ former leader, Nick Clegg, answered questions on the future of his party. Labour’s Chuka Umunna delivered a strong speech on the future of the country in relation to global events, such as humanitarian issues in Syria and Libya.
Overall, reported Eshan, the trip was interesting and provided many fresh insights for the QE boys. “It helped us understand how fragile the Brexit negotiations are, as well as the desired outcomes of the two main parties.” he said.
QE’s Head of Politics, Liam Hargadon, said: ““This was a rare opportunity for students to come face-to-face with national leaders and to address their concerns directly to decision-makers. QE students derive great benefit from this occasion.”