Speaker to give speech on improving public perception of Parliament

05 April 2011

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, will outline his vision for improving the public perception of Parliament during a visit to the Midlands and North of England.

In a speech to Sheffield Hallam University entitled 'Taking Parliament to the people – the next steps', Speaker Bercow will discuss how to involve the public more effectively in the work of Parliament.

Mr Speaker’s visit to the University is part of a series of events he is attending in on 6 and 7 April in Nottingham, Sheffield, Ormskirk, and Manchester where he will also attend a range of events to meet and talk to retirement groups, those working in the voluntary sector and community groups.

The events have been arranged as part of the Houses of Parliament’s Outreach programme, which aims to give the public information about the role and business of Parliament and encourages greater public engagement with the work of Parliament.

Commenting on the visit Speaker Bercow said:

"I always enjoy leaving Westminster to meet members of the public and hear their views about what Parliament should be doing better to involve, and interest, them in the decision making process.


"It is particularly rewarding to be able to attend such a wide range of events  to emphasise that what happens at the House of Commons is relevant to everyone no matter where in the UK they live."

During the visit, Mr Speaker will attend the following events:

Wednesday 6 April

  • Bright Ideas Nottingham – Parliament’s Outreach Service is co-hosting an event with Bright Ideas Nottingham for social enterprises from around the East Midlands.
  • Nottingham High School - The Speaker will discuss his role and the work of Parliament with students.
  • Sheffield Hallam University – The Speaker will take part in a short informal meeting with Politics A-Level students from schools around Sheffield, and Politics students from the two Sheffield universities, which will be followed by a more formal lecture. Topics for discussion will include: reforms to the proceedings of the House introduced by the Speaker; the broad role of outreach in enabling engagement with Parliament and careers in politics, particularly the recently announced paid internship programme.

Thursday 7 April

  • University of the Third Age - Some 400 retirees will attend an event arranged by Ormskirk-Aughton U3A in partnership with Parliament’s outreach service. The Speaker will make a brief informal address, then take questions from the audience.
  • Voluntary Sector North West - This event is run jointly with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation Manchester. Topics for discussion are expected to include: the launch of Parli-Out, a support network for the lesbian, gay and transgender individuals working in Parliament, and the introduction of civil partnership ceremonies in the Palace of Westminster.  

Image: PA / Stefan Rousseau

More news on: Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Speaker news, East Midlands, North West, Parliamentary Outreach, Yorkshire and the Humber, England

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