On Friday 21 September the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, met with community groups in Sheffield and Salford as part of a programme of events to increase public interest in the work of Parliament.
The first visit of the day was to Sheffield University of the Third Age, the second largest U3A in the country.
Mr Bercow spoke to the 190 members in attendance about his role in Parliament as Speaker of the House of Commons, the changes he has overseen to strengthen the powers of Backbench Members and the need for greater public engagement.
He also took questions on behaviour in, and reform of, the House of Commons, the idea of an Older People’s Parliament, how his role differs from Speakers in other Parliaments and on Local Democracy Week in Sheffield.
Mr Speaker then went on to chair the annual debate at the University of Salford hosted by Youth Charter, a non-profit organisation launched in 1993 that promotes the use of sports and arts activities to help socially excluded young people.
The debate focused on the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games for young people and was attended by secondary school pupils from across the north west. Among the panellists was former gold medal paralympian Simon Jackson MBE.
The visits were facilitated by the Houses of Parliament’s Outreach Service, which seeks to spread awareness of the work, processes and relevance of the institution of Parliament, and encourage greater engagement between the public and the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Regional Outreach officers are available to give further information and advice on how individuals and organisations can get involved with the Houses of Parliament’s Outreach Service in their local area.
Image: PA-Stefan Rousseau