Day 3 – Alexandra Papanikolaou, Harris Asimakopoulos and Sarah Paitaridis
“Toeing the line with the UK Parliament”
A walking tour of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster was the highlight of our day. Seeing such a detailed structure was fascinating for us all. We were amazed at the architecture and craned our necks to see the stunning detail.
Our very knowledgeable tour guide, Barry, enlightened us about the history of the building. We quickly learnt that it has evolved over centuries. The bombing of the House of Commons chamber led to its restoration and rebuild. Westminster Hall is the oldest part of the building, being started by William the Conqueror.
It was a great honour to stand in the House of Commons and House of Lords, particularly as so many historical political and royal figures have stood in the exact same spots. The contrast between the red coloured House of Lords and green coloured House of Commons exemplifies the contrast between the functions of the two houses.
The House of Commons is designed for robust debate and argument. Members of Parliament speak from their place in the Commons and are expected ‘toe the line’, in other words to stay behind the ‘blood line’, a red strip in the carpet during debates. Life peers, hereditary peers and the Bishops from the Church of England are the three different categories of the House of Lords.
The beautiful leather seats we were invited to stand next to were off bounds. However, we were able to sit in the division lobby where the members of Parliament queue to vote.
In the afternoon, we were lucky enough to have a lecture from Professor Robert Hazell about the Conservative Government’s constitutional reform agenda. Professor Hazell made some very insightful remarks about the position of Scotland in relation to devolution and the European Union’s effects on UK law and politics.
After an exciting but very tiring day, most of us retired to our hotel rooms to relax and recuperate. A trip Leicester Square saw a few of us wonder into the M&M store (all four floors of chocolate goodness).
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