Last Friday I attended my second Lords outreach programme visit. This time I went to Eston Park Sixth Form College, which is only a few miles from where I live. I spent about an hour at the college taking to the students, plus a bit extra to go on a short tour and talk to some of the other pupils.
The purpose of the programme is to talk to young people about the work in the Lords, but I also see it as a useful way to talk to young people about political engagement. This is NOT about party politics, but about helping young people to understand about the role that they can play in their communities and how they can get their view across.
I wasn’t asked about votes at 16 (which is unusual for this age group), but I was asked about just about everything else. I was asked about how I voted on a number of divisions, and how I came to make those decisions, and what the cakes in the Dining Room are like !!! I suggested that if they could find 6 young people who wanted to make the long trip south, I would take them for tea !!
I also had the chance to talk about the Public Bodies Bill (which I spoke on in a debate last week) and give them some real examples about how things work…. The Lord Speakers office provide order papers and other materials so that we have something tangible to show. I thought it was a good use of my ‘free’ Friday, and I am looking forward to the next one