17 year old student wins Lord Speaker/Hansard Society essay writing competition - 12 Jul, 2007
Matthew Edwards from Merchant
Taylors' School to meet the Lord Speaker
Click here to read the winning
entry - Matthew Edwards essay [17KB]
Click here to read the two
runners up - James Wilson essay [18KB] and Tianwu Zhang essay [17KB]
Matthew Edwards from Merchant
Taylors' School in Middlesex has won first prize in a nationwide essay
competition on the House of Lords.
The winner and two runners-up
will spend a day in Parliament on 17 July, touring both Houses in the morning
and then meeting the Lord Speaker and members of the judging panel to discuss
their essays. In the afternoon they will watch question time in the House of
Lords. The winner will have the opportunity to spend a day shadowing the Lord
Speaker in the autumn, learning from the inside how the Lord works.
Hundreds of 16 to 18-year-olds
from across the country entered the competition on the subject "First Class
Second Chamber: the challenges and merits of an Upper House". The judging panel
comprised, Peter Riddell (Chief Political correspondent for the Times and chair
of the Hansard Society), Baroness (Estelle) Morris of Yardley (a former teacher
and Secretary of State for Education) and Elizabeth Hallam Smith (Director of
Information Services at the House of Lords).
Matthew Edwards is studying
politics, French, geography and physics and his interests range from sports to
architecture. He is a regular visitor to the Edinburgh Festival and hopes to
study politics, philosophy and economics at university. On hearing the news, he
commented: "I'm astonished to have won this essay competition and am very much
looking forward to speaking with the judging panel about why they liked my submission.
I would also like to congratulate the two runners-up on their success."
James Wilson (17) also from
Merchant Taylors' School and Tianwu Zhang (17)
from Aylesbury Grammar
School were the two runners-up and will be joining Matthew on
the trip to Westminster
on 17 July.
The Lord Speaker, Baroness
"I am delighted that so many
young people entered the competition. One of my most important roles is to try
and better engage the public, especially young people, in the work of the House
of Lords and parliamentary democracy more generally. Hopefully this competition
has stimulated interest about the Lords, as well as being enjoyable for the
Peter Riddell, Chair of the
Hansard Society and an essay judge, commented:
"The essays show a range and
diversity of thinking about the future of the House of Lords not always matched
in the debates earlier this year in Parliament itself. Young people are not all
for a fully-elected House. Some prefer a largely appointed House, recognising the
dilemmas of the relative balance between the two chambers."
For further information,
contact Virginia Gibbons, Communications Manager at the Hansard Society on 0207
438 1225 or 07812 765 552
Notes for editors
- The Hansard Society is an independent, non-partisan
educational charity, which exists to promote effective parliamentary
democracy. Our activities, meetings and publications focus on educating
people, especially the young, in how the UK Parliament
- The Hansard Society's Citizenship
Education Programme works with young people through schools and colleges
to educate and inform them about parliamentary democracy and develop
innovative ways to involve them in participatory democratic activities.
- The essay competition was paid for out of the
Woolsack Fund, the Lord Speaker's personal charitable fund set up to
support initiatives related the improving the understanding of Parliament.
- The Lord Speaker has just completed her first
year in office, having been elected as the first Lord Speaker on 4 July
2006. Aside from her duties presiding over the House of Lords from the
Woolsack, she also acts as am apolitical ambassador of the House, engaging
the public and especially young people in the work of Parliament. For more
information on the Lord Speaker's activities please see: www.parliament.uk/lordspeaker