As Lord Speaker, I’m honoured to be blogging at the beginning of the second Parliament Week today. There are many worthwhile events that will be taking place both here at Westminster and around the country.
On Monday, the House of Lords will launch its pilot outreach partnership with the charity Debate Mate, which uses volunteer university students to mentor secondary school students, encouraging them to develop debating skills.
I will give a lecture on international relations in Portcullis House on Wednesday 21, as part of the ‘Open Lecture’ series. I want to highlight the more ambassadorial side of my role and how I can help foster good parliamentary relations, by visiting and receiving counterpart Speakers and other parliamentarians from the Commonwealth, Europe and indeed from all over the world.
Children from London schools will visit Parliament on Thursday 22, under the “Somewhere to Read” initiative organised by the Public Engagement and Learning team and in support of the Volunteer Reading Help scheme. I’m going to read to them from one of my favourite authors – Ted Hughes – and am looking forward to hearing about their own reading too.
We will go on a regional outreach visit to the North East on 22 – 23 November to give a lecture at the Institute for Public Policy Research North on the role of the Lords. I will also be talking to Newcastle Science City on how people can engage with members of the Lords and I will give a talk at St Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham as part of the Peers in Schools programme.
There will be over 40 further peers making Peers in Schools visits all around the country on Friday 23 November, including the 1,000th visit of the programme since its launch in 2007. This means that around 50,000 young people will have learnt more about the House of Lords and what it does for them.
It will be a fantastic week which I hope will lead to more people getting involved with Parliament by learning about the work we do. For more information, please visit the Parliament Week website.