Swindon MPs help Cirencester College’s young politicians debate the voting age

Cirencester College Politics and Law students joined forces to draft a Bill for the House of Commons, to propose ‘lowering the voting age to 16’.  Two weeks later, this was followed two weeks later by a second session to debate the bill.  Although only a simulation of how a Bill is brought to the House of Commons and debated, it gave students a real insight into how government works.

To help the students write the bill, Cirencester College were delighted to host a question and answer session with the Conservative MP for South Swindon, Robert Buckland.   Robert outlined the process for drafting a bill which the A-level Law students then used in their work on the project.  Robert also answered a variety of questions on subjects such as the EU and the impact of Brexit, the future of the NHS and recent housing developments in Swindon.  With over 40 students attending this made for a very lively conversation.

Politics Lecturer, Greg Pollock, commented “The students found Robert’s visit invaluable in terms of developing their political/legal understanding and gaining an insight into Robert’s work as Solicitor General.”

On Friday 26th January, Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson visited the same law and politics students, as well as the Cirencester College Debating Society to judge an energetic debate. Following up on the Bill proposal, the motion of the debate was ‘the voting age should be lowered to 16’. Law lecturer Daniel Nield chaired the debate, with Carys Larwood and Indie Ellis arguing for the motion, and Aidan Hinson and Aman Miah arguing against the motion.

Both teams presented their cases with passion and were intensely grilled by both judges Justin Tomlinson and Greg Pollock,Politics lecturer, who pushed the teams on every point and detail. Justin commented saying that the teams were very well prepared and delivered their speeches exceptionally well. He complimented Aidan and Aman on their individual approach to their speeches; Aidan went ‘all guns blazing with clear points and strong sources’, whilst Aman started ‘off agreeing with the propositions point but then undermined their position which kept the audience interested’.

Justin praised the proposition for their determination and for not conceding any points when they were scrutinised in judges’ questions. He stated that both Carys and Indie ‘would make great MP’s one day’. However, there can only be one winning team and the audience, with the judges agreed to awarding the victory to Carys and Indie, who debated for the motion.

Principal, Jim Grant said, “The students and staff were very grateful to Robert Buckland MP and Justin Tomlinson MP for giving up time to support this joint Politics and Law Project. A fantastic experience for our law students who gained a real insight with the guidance of our Solicitor General, Robert Buckland.”

For further information about Politics and Law courses or to find out more about the debating society email student.journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk.