Catherine West MP, Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green
Catherine West MP, Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green

My third Politics Summer School for 16-19 years old living or studying in Hornsey & Wood Green took place in July.  It was a fantastic week, even with the COVID restrictions meaning it was held virtually for the first time.

Below you can watch some of the excellent talks from speakers including Haringey Council Leader Cllr Peray Ahmet, journalists Amelia Gentleman, Pippa Crearer, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and many more.   Please note that, owing to privacy reasons, the Q&A with my young constituents have not been included in these shareable recordings of the event.

Q&A with Labour MPs and Peers

This session opened my Politics Summer School 2021. I was joined by my friends and colleagues, Diane Abbott, Alex Sobel, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Lord Ray Collins and Lord Toby Harris to answer questions from my young constituents on a range of issues. Topics discussed included living by one’s values in politics; restoring trust in the relations between the police and London’s communities; how young people can get involved in campaigning for change; and safer streets for women and girls.

Unfortunately, because of some technical issues, the Q&A with MPs and Lords didn’t begin recording until about halfway through the speakers’ introductions. Lord Collins’, Alex Sobel’s and most of Shami Chakrabarty’s introductions were sadly missed from the recording.

This session was held on 12. 07.2021

Meet Haringey Council

The pupils of my Politics Summer School 2021 had the opportunity to meet with their local council Leader, Cllr Peray Ahmet, and longstanding Cabinet Member Cllr Seema Chandwani. Cllrs Ahmet and Chandwani discussed their respective entries into political careers, what community advocacy meant to them, and the importance of representation in government and public life.

This session was held on 12.07.2021.

Introduction to the Greater London Assembly

Councillors Joanne McCartney (Enfield & Haringey) and Anne Clarke (Barnet & Camden) joined my Politics Summer School 2021 to introduce their work as Assembly Members at City Hall. Both Councillors discussed the importance of local government in affecting the day-to-day lives of Londoners, and their respective entries into politics.

Unfortunately, owing to technical issues, the beginning of Cllr McCartney’s introduction could not be included in the recording.

This session was held on 12.07.2021.

Journalism and Social Change

On the second day of my Politics Summer School 2021, I chaired a discussion held by Amelia Gentleman (Guardian) and Rachael Venables (LBC) – two journalists who, through their print, broadsheet and radio work, have covered two of the biggest stories in recent years: the Windrush scandal and the conditions that led to the Grenfell tragedy. Amelia and Rachael discussed how they both got into journalism and how their respective reporting has impacted public awareness, and a push for, social change.

This session was held on 13.07.2021.

The Role of the Media

I was delighted that the pupils of my Politics Summer School had an opportunity to engage with three journalists and editors on the role the media plays in shaping politics and reporting in the public interest. This thought-provoking panel consisted of Andre Langlois (Editor of the Ham & High, Islington Gazette, Hackney Gazette, and Brent & Kilburn Times), Henry Saker-Clark (reporter at PA), and Pippa Crerar (Political Editor, Daily Mirror) who shared their insights into the impact their work has had on the public’s perception of government and politics; spanning issues from Brexit’s impact on British consumers, to democratic accountability and transparent justice systems; and Dominic Cummings’s infamous trip to Barnard Castle.

This session was held on 13.07.2021.

Prime Minister’s Questions: task for summer school attendees

For my Politics Summer School 2021, I set the pupils an at-home task: to watch Prime Minister’s Questions and think about what function it serves. What questions were asked of the Prime Minister? How did the Prime Minister respond? If the pupils could advise the Leader of the Opposition on questions to ask the Prime Minister, what would they recommend?

All the pupils shared their responses during a session with a member of staff from the Leader of the Opposition’s office. Some also submitted written responses, which you can read here, and of those Rebekah Treganna was selected to write a column for the Ham & High about her experience of the summer school.  You can read her column here.

I am proud to represent such engaged young constituents. I look forward to seeing some of them on the green benches in the future!

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