Spelthorne MP presides over Commons debate

Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng took the Speaker's chair for a lively Commons-style debate in the Council Chamber recently.

He played the role of Speaker of the House as part of a Parliament event for senior schools, organised by Spelthorne Council at Knowle Green.

Teams comprising year 11 students from Thamesmead, Matthew Arnold and Sunbury Manor schools spent the afternoon learning the finer points of the Parliamentary process before breaking into groups to debate the lowering of the voting age to 16.

MP Kwasi conducted the debate along Commons lines - ensuring the members addressed him and fellow debaters in the correct way, and following the protocols of the House of Commons.

The debate soon became animated as the students speaking for and against the issue argued their cases and tried to persuade their fellow "MPs" to vote with them. A division vote saw the Ayes in favour of the motion outnumber the Nos by 18 to 11.

Prizes of Kwasi's latest book were given to the two students chosen by Kwasi as the best speakers. He said they demonstrated debating skills which would not be out of place in the current House of Commons. He also fielded several questions from the students, ranging from the life of an MP through to current political issues and his opinions on the future of Spelthorne.

Cllr Maureen Attewell, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing said: "The Council is committed to supporting the Borough's schools via enrichment events such as this. This opportunity to engage with their MP and local councillors under the guidance of the Parliament Education team is an amazing experience.

"As the students' knowledge and understanding of Government and the democratic process grows, we hope they will become informed and involved citizens of the future."

The event was supported by the Parliament Education service and is one of Spelthorne Council's regular annual events for schools which also include the Junior Democracy event and quiz.

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