61st Westminster Seminar ends

Today saw the close of the 61st Westminster Seminar of Parliamentary Practice and Procedure, which brought together parliamentarians from Commonwealth legislatures as different as Pakistan, Jersey and Kiribati.

Over the course of the week, nearly 60 parliamentarians gathered at Westminster for full, engaging and challenging exploration of different systems used by legislatures, using the Westminster model as a focus of discussion.

Highlights of the week included a meeting with Rt Hon. The Lord Howell, UK Commonwealth Minister, at No. 10 Downing Street. Lord Howell took the opportunity to reaffirm the UK's commitment to its Commonwealth links, in the particularly apt setting of the very heart of Government.

House of Commons Speaker Rt Hon. John Bercow MP gave an overview of his responsibilities in a lively discussion of the role of the Speaker. Memorably, he jokingly likened the job to that of a head teacher, or a football referee.

The week of the Seminar fell over International Women's Day, which the delegates marked in a breakfast meeting hosted by the Lord Speaker, Rt Hon. The Baroness D'Souza, with UK parliamentarians and representatives of Civil Society Organisations.

Other activities over the course of the week included constituency visits, sessions on the administration and management of Parliament, discussions of how to engage with young people and the media, and viewings of Prime Minister's Questions and proceedings in the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Next week, CPA UK will host the 2nd Westminster Workshop focusing on the Public Accounts Committee.

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