What it’s really like to be an MP

An alarm clock, part of the game MP for a Week

An exciting new resource is being launched by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow (January 12, 2010) to give young people a virtual taste of what it is like to be an MP.

The pioneering online game 'MP for a Week' is designed as an educational resource for students and teachers but it will be accessible to anyone who wants to get an idea about the various aspects of an MP’s working life.

The game uses rarely seen footage of the House of Commons so that users get a real feel for what it is like to walk the corridors of power.

Twelve MPs from a variety of parties were also interviewed and feature in the game to provide advice to game players and help steer them through the various political dilemmas and choices they have to make in a typical Parliamentary week.

Players are taken through the daily life of a backbencher. They are scored according to the judgements they make and how that is likely to impact their party, reputation or constituency.

The issues have been designed to be relevant to young people without being party political.

Speaker John Bercow MP: "It’s vital that young people understand the role of Parliament and the work of MPs. Parliament has a duty, which should also be a pleasure, to connect with the public and ‘MP for a Week’ is an innovative way for students to explore our democracy."

Tom O’Leary, Head of Parliament’s Education Service, said: "Parliament’s Education Service aims to interact with all school-aged children in the UK, whether visiting Westminster or playing a computer game. 'MP for a Week’ gives students an understanding of how Parliament works in a way that hasn’t been attempted before – by letting players experience life on the back benches. By learning through play, we hope students will find the political process interesting and more meaningful to them."

Peter Stidwill, Senior Web Producer for Education, Parliament, said: "Many people, young and old, find the inner workings of Parliament a mystery. MP for a Week helps unravel some of these mysteries, but also highlights the complex decisions and opposing views that need to be balanced in the world of politics. And it’s all presented in a fun and engaging way for 11-14 year olds with plenty of guidance and support material for teachers.”

A trailer for the game can be accessed via YouTube

Parliament’s Education Service works with schools and Members of both Houses of Parliament to support young people in developing their understanding of Parliament and democracy. Its services are free and have been designed to support the political literacy and citizenship education requirements of the national curricula in the United Kingdom.