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Local MP, Huw Merriman, visited Ark Helenswood Academy in St Leonards-on-Sea last Friday where he talked to 250 Year 9 and 10 pupils about MPs and Parliament in the UK—1 Februray 2018

The evolution of democracy in the UK and the right to vote

Ark Helenswood Academy invited Huw to speak to the students so they hear first-hand about the life of an MP and how Parliament works.

Huw explained how MPs get elected, the work they do in Parliament and in the constituency.

He also spoke about how democracy had evolved in the UK and when men and woman got the right to vote.

He told the students that he was in favour of votes for 16 year olds and asked them if they were in favour of lowering the voting age.

A show of hands confirmed that the majority of students agreed that votes at 16 was a good idea but some felt they needed to know more about politics and what the political parties stand for.

Huw went on to talk about the use of referendums and why some issues are considered so important that Parliament asks the people to vote for or against major decisions, such as whether the UK should stay in the European Union.

Following the assembly, Huw spent some time talking to the student leadership team about public speaking. He answered their questions about how to control nerves and gave them tips on how to make sure they keep an audience’s attention.

Huw said “It was a great pleasure to visit Ark Helenswood Academy to speak to the pupils about democracy in the UK and how our Parliament works.

“I hope I managed to share my enthusiasm for my job and helped them to understand just how important it is that we all use our vote. The students had some really interesting questions for me and I could certainly see that there were plenty of potential leaders and politicians amongst them.”

Tracy Dohel, Principal of Ark Helenswood Academy said “We would like to thank Huw for the time he spent at the school. The talk was thought provoking and the students were engaged and inspired.