Queen Margaret’s School in York hosted a talk from Baroness Grey-Thompson in order to encourage students to become more engaged with the political and parliamentary process. The peer met the girls for an hour to talk about the work and role of the House of Lords. This was followed by a question and answer session on various aspects of the parliamentary process and life at Westminster.
AS-level politics student Tia Taylor said: “Baroness Grey-Thompson is an enthusiastic speaker with a clear passion for her role in the House of Lords as a crossbencher. She shared the quirks and traditions about the house that only a person on the inside would know, such as the nuances when addressing fellow members and how subtle changes can make a difference between offending them and complimenting them.
“When questioned on her opinion about reforming the House of Lords, she responded with an open-minded view, agreeing that the House of Lords would benefit from reform, but explained the complications. She mentioned that if the members from the House of Lords were voted in, it would be unclear who would belong to a constituency and this would raise the question of who is the dominating power between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.”
Carole Cameron, acting head at Queen Margaret’s, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our girls to interact with someone who knows the parliamentary system inside out, as it can sometimes seem far removed from their daily lives.”
The visit was arranged through the Lord Speaker’s ‘Peers in Schools’ programme, which has been running across the UK since 2007 and has so far involved around 75,000 young people. This continuing outreach programme sends members of the House of Lords into schools and colleges across the country to give talks in support of the citizenship curriculum.