High school students grill MP
A Norfolk MP was given an unexpected grilling by the politicians of the future while addressing Fakenham High School's student council. Norman Lamb arrived on Friday to give the newly-elected council a talk about his job and encourage candidates to represent his North Norfolk constituency in the UK youth parliament.
A Norfolk MP was given an unexpected grilling by the politicians of the future while addressing Fakenham High School's student council.
Norman Lamb arrived on Friday to give the newly-elected council a talk about his job and encourage candidates to represent his North Norfolk constituency in the UK youth parliament.
But when he opened up the session to questions, he was subjected to a non-stop 30-minute barrage from the eager young councillors on issues ranging from NHS waiting lists to the expenses scandal.
Despite getting such a torrid time, Mr Lamb was full of praise for the youngsters' knowledge and their willingness to engage in debate.
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“I cannot believe how many questions this lot has asked,” he said. “I have never ever talked to a group of students where I have been asked so many questions.
“There was no embarrassment at all and the extent to which they were prepared to speak was fantastic. It was seriously impressive.
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“I think their behaviour and contribution was dramatically better than you normally get in parliament.”
Mr Lamb was also forced to defend his support for the BBC's decision to allow BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time, and was asked if the expenses revelations of other MPs had left him “tarred with the same brush”.
He answered: “When people accuse you of money-grabbing it makes you feel very disillusioned about the job. It has been a very stressful time for the whole family, but I always go back to the fact that I have always tried to do things properly.”
Jess Hothersall, 16, challenged Mr Lamb's position that the voting age should be lowered to 16, and continued the debate with him after the other students had left.
She said: “I think it is brilliant I have had the chance to talk to him. I have had inklings before that I could talk in public but today has furthered the ambition to become an MP.”
The school's 120-strong council has been restructured this term with three representatives from each form elected into separate groups for wellbeing, school environment and learning - allowing them to focus on more realistic targets.
Chris Cox, student council co-ordinator, said: “I asked them to come up with questions and said it was really important they were not shy. I'm really proud of them.”