More than 50 pupils from a North London school had the chance to grill the Speaker about the cost of university fees, what more can be done to help refugees – and whether being a politician is fun.
The Year 6 students were taking part in a regular #Ask the Speaker session, which allows students to quiz John Bercow about his role and the work of Parliament via Skype. The group from Wembley’s Ark Academy were particularly interested in the Speaker’s views on refugees, having read Welcome to Nowhere - Elizabeth Laird’s moving account of family life in Syria.
They also discovered that the Speaker’s three years at university were some of the happiest in his life, that as a child he had wanted to be a professional tennis player, and if he hadn’t become an MP, he would have liked to have been a lawyer or an academic.
One pupil, Simeon Peterman, 10, said: “The 'Ask the Speaker' session was a unique opportunity, which not a lot of people would have. It allowed us to see how democracy works and experience a little bit of how the inside of Parliament functions.”
Mr Bercow told the children that MPs needed someone impartial to chair their debates, particularly when there were strong differences of opinion.
“He went on to tell us that the most heated arguments were around same sex marriage, where 65 politicians spoke, and whether the UK should send military personnel to intervene in Syria.”
“It was a privilege to have the chance to meet someone as influential as Mr Speaker and I'm sure all of us in Year 6 will remember it for years to come.”
#Ask the Speaker
The #Ask the Speaker sessions began in May 2016 to give students from across the UK a unique opportunity to talk to the Speaker live from their classrooms. More than 50 sessions have been hosted at Parliament’s Education Centre and the Speaker has spoken to 3,019 students.
Find out more information about how schools can apply to take part in an #Ask the Speaker event