Online game gives young people taste of life as an MP

12 January 2010

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will today launch an exciting new resource that gives young people a chance to step into the shoes of a backbench MP.

MP For A Week is an online game designed as an educational resource for students and teachers, but is accessible to anyone who wants to get an idea about the various aspects of being an MP.

The game uses rarely seen footage of the House of Commons giving players a real feel for what it's like to walk the corridors of power. Several MPs from a variety of political parties were interviewed and feature in the game to provide advice to users and help steer them through the various political dilemmas they face in a very busy parliamentary week.

Players decide for themselves how to progress through their week as a backbencher. They can make speeches in debates, vote on laws, go to constituency events and take part in committee inquiries. They’ll have to keep voters and their party happy, while choosing how to respond to lobbyists, ministers and the press.

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

Speaker John Bercow MP said:

"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."

MP For A Week aims to support teachers in helping 11-14 year olds develop their political literacy. Linked to all UK national curricula, the game also gives teachers a game guide and support notes to help them get the most out of the game for their students.

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 backbenches. 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, said:

"Many people - young and old - find the 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."

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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