Friday November 13 proved lucky for Notre Dame’s A-level Politics students, who attended a Teams meeting with Lord Balfe, a current member of the House of Lords.
Providing a lively introduction to his role, Lord Balfe explained that as a peer he can act independently of his party, rather than having to debate and vote in line with the current government. Having a trade union background and working as an MEP (Member of the European Parliament) between 1979 and 2004, it’s hardly surprising that his areas of policy interest within the House include the EU and trade unions.
As a member of the House of Lords, Lord Balfe has been appointed to scrutinise the government, which he does through a daily question time, by amending legislation, and applying his expertise and experience to matters under discussion. 80% of the House of Lords amendments are accepted by the Commons.
Our students, who’ve studied the Lords as part of their A-level, had prepared a number of questions for Lord Balfe. Many focused on possible reform of the House, either to provide more regional representation, or so that Lords are elected rather than appointed. Lord Balfe said he’d like to see a mandatory minimum attendance requirement introduced, and that he felt the composition of the House should better reflect the electorate, by appointing more green peers for example.
Our students also asked Lord Balfe his opinion on the UK leaving the EU (he felt this was a mistake), NATO (which he felt was extremely important), and immigration. The college would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his time.