Posted on: April 18th 2024

Houses of Parliament Visit: Student Report

On 25th March, I, and five other LAE students, had the immense privilege of being invited to the House of Lords as part of our work as advisory body to the Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC).

The day started with a tour of Parliament where we were taught about the important historical aspects of the Houses: we were able to go inside both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and learned that we were not entitled to sit down as only elected MPs or Peers were allowed to sit.

House of lords select committee marchAfter the tours we had lunch and then took part in activities which were led by the clerks of the committee with Baroness Parminter, the previous chair,  and Baroness Sheehan, the current chair of the select committee. We were tasked with brainstorming inquiry ideas in our groups before deciding on one to present in a ‘mock’ inquiry, giving us a taste of what the actual selection process is like. This was an amazing experience as it allowed us to get a deeper understanding of the workings of select committees and their process. Following this, we moved on to deciding which questions we wanted to ask and which expert witnesses and stakeholders we would need to invite to provide evidence.

Finally, we were joined by Lord Trees, Lord Lilley and the Earl of Leicester, who were current and former members of the Environment and Climate Change Committee.  The five peers had different backgrounds: two ex-politicians, one veterinary expert, one scientist and a hereditary landowner.  We were fascinated to hear them discuss the diversity of expertise needed to provide a balanced and independent assessment of the evidence presented.  We were invited to ask these Peers of the House questions and understand why they were a part of the committee, the motivations behind their passions for climate change and about their general life as Peers of the House of Lords.  We also witnessed a debate about the urgency of action and the impacts on the poorest in society.

This was a truly inspiring and educational experience which we were all very grateful to be a part of. 

Shaheed Hussein