Wokingham Schools’ Debating Competition winners enjoy day out at the Palace of Westminster

On Wednesday the 17th June, pupils and teachers from the Emmbrook and Willink School were treated to a day out at the Houses of Parliament by John Redwood.

As a prize for winning the 2008 Wokingham Schools’ Debating Competition, Adam Connell and Florence Curtis of the Emmbrook School, along with their teacher Diana Collins, joined runners up Lawrence Hill and Dominic Murray-Vaughn, and their teacher Lorraine Gordon from the Willink, on a trip to Westminster where they enjoyed a guided tour of Parliament by John Redwood and had the chance to watch Prime Minister’s Questions.

Following a two hour tour of the Palace of Westminster, where John explained the history behind the building and also outlined in some detail the intricacies of how the Lords and Commons operate, the debating students from the Emmbrook and Willink were able to witness Parliamentary debating first hand by watching Scottish Questions and Prime Minister’s Questions from the public gallery. Amongst the political heavyweights the pupils were able to see in person were Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

The day ended with lunch in the Adjournment restaurant, where the group was joined by David Wilshire MP, a seasoned Parliamentary debater and Vice-Chairman of the Political Affairs Committee in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Speaking after the visit, John Redwood said: “It was a pleasure to one again welcome Wokingham pupils to the Palace of Westminster, and, at a time when politics has a poor reputation, show them how Parliament operates and why our democratic traditions are so important”.

“In these challenging times employers are looking for people with the skills to succeed. Public speaking and the ability to think on one’s feet are important life skills that offer an advantage in a competitive job market. I am pleased that by organising the Wokingham Schools Debating Competition and bringing the winners to Parliament, I have been able to help Wokingham’s pupils develop these important life skills”.

Notes for editors:

The Wokingham Schools Debating Competition is an annual tournament organised by John Redwood and his office for secondary schools in his constituency. The competition aims to encourage sixth form pupils to develop public speaking skills, think on their feet and develop clear and concise arguments. The winners of the competition are awarded the John Redwood Cup and the winners and runners up receive the trip to the Houses of Parliament.

The 2009 Debating Competition will be held in October, with the final taking place at Wokingham Town Hall on Friday the 27th November.

Please feel free to reproduce the attached photographs. Photograph 1 shows Adam Connell and Florence Curtis with John Redwood. Photograph 2 shows Adam Connell, Florence Curtis, Diana Collins, Lawrence Hill, Dominic Murray-Vaughn, Lorraine Gordon and John Redwood. If you need the photographs in a higher resolution, please contact Carl on 020 7219 4205.

The sponsors of the 2008 competition were 3M, Classicstone Properties, RBS, Mr. William Clark, Clifton Ingram and Titcheners. We are grateful for their support. The sponsors of this year’s competition are Mr. William Clark and Clifton Ingram.

For more information please contact Carl Thomson on 020 7219 4205