MP Jesse Norman paid a visit to Ashfield Park Primary School on Friday, February 2nd, to give a short, interactive talk on democracy.
Jesse explained that to become a Member of Parliament you have to be elected by people who are able to vote, over the age of 18. Jesse added that people come from different ‘parties’ and gave examples.
He said that MPs should state what they plan to do, and why you should choose them. He also explained that he could be replaced in a general election, and he said that he “loves that [he] has to work for it.”
He explained that laws are passed in Parliament. Jesse then asked whether he should pass a law to have a fizzy drink in the taps at Ashfield instead of water, to which there were many cheers in favour.
He asked the pupils to think of reasons why he shouldn’t pass that law, and one girl said “because it’s bad for your teeth.”
Jesse finished his talk by saying that as well as passing laws, they also set taxes, “which you pay to contribute to the collective welfare for your beautiful country and primary school.”
Then Jesse opened the floor to questions, and many of the pupils had questions they had already prepared. These included: How many hours do you work? How tall are you? and asked his favourite food, football team and animal.
To which the answers were: “70 hours a week, an elephant because they’re big, friendly and wise, six foot, five inches, marmalade on toast with a cup of tea, Manchester United since 1969 and Hereford FC.
A pupil then asked how long it takes to prepare a speech, and if he gets nervous.
Jesse said that a big speech in the House of Commons is usually prepared for him, but he scraps the speech, and takes the points from it, because he feels that speaking using your own words is really important. He said that he doesn’t worry about getting nervous.
Another pupil asked if he had always wanted to be an MP. Jesse said: “I didn’t always want to be an MP, but I thought about it. As a voter, I wanted someone who had experience - so I became an MP at 47, which is very old for Parliament, but it has really helped.”
A pupil asked what the buildings in Parliament are like, and Jesse likened them to the Hogwarts castle in Harry Potter, “there are things that move and it is very complicated.”
He said that MPs don’t get lunch breaks and it’s “more of a quick scoff between meetings,” and that ‘recess periods’ for him, means just two days of catching up on sleep.
Another question was: “Have you had an argument with Jeremy Corbyn?”
Jesse replied: “Not with him, no, but his structure... I think Jeremy is just quite wrong, but that’s for voters to decide.”
The last question was: “Will there be a kid Olympics?”
Jesse said: “Do we want to put even more pressure on young people? We need to give them scope to express themselves.”