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Right Honourable Members

Politics students were given an amazing opportunity last week to listen to and meet an array of politicians invited into the college by Government and Politics teachers Mr Warnes and Mr Clifford.

First off, Notre Dame’s Politics society hosted a star-studded ‘European Elections Question Time’

The stellar cast of seasoned political personalities included four of the top party candidates standing in the Yorkshire and Humber ballot.

Among the visitors were two senior serving MEPs: Edward McMillan-Scott for the Lib Dems and Linda McAvan for Labour who between them have forty-six years of European political experience. In addition, three aspiring MEPs joined in the lively debate: Cllr Andrew Cooper for the Greens, Jane Collins for UKIP and Ryan Stephenson for the Conservatives.

A packed college lecture theatre listened to the debate, then students asked the questions and commented on the answers. Sparks flew as the panellists traded political points, reflecting the heated nature of current debates about Europe.

Kevin Warnes, who chaired the panel, described the experience as “huge fun and a riveting exchange of political views”. Allan Clifford agreed that it was a “superb learning experience for the students as well as good knockabout political entertainment”.

Later in the week, Rachel Reeves MP, who represents Leeds West for Labour and is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions came into Notre Dame to meet the students, again at the invitation of the Politics Society.

Ms Reeves told the students about her experiences in politics since she was first elected in 2010, and answered a variety of questions. These ranged from Marx’s assessment of capitalism to the government’s reform of welfare. She also gave an insight into the challenges of being a woman MP.

The session was again chaired by Kevin Warnes. Allan Clifford described the session as “interesting and extremely useful, especially for the A2 students studying the politics of the Welfare State”.

So don’t forget, those of you who will be eligible to vote in the European elections on May 22nd, make sure whatever your political persuasion, exercise your franchise. [Use your vote!]

MEPs pictured from left to right Cllr Andrew Cooper, Linda McAvan, Edward McMillan-Scott, Ryan Stephenson and Jane Collins.