Young People Visit WestminsterYouth Councillors meet Kit Malthouse MP & tour the Houses Of Parliament.

On 5th September, Andover Town Council, in partnership with Test Valley Community Services, travelled to the centre of London with four young people to learn about the history, ceremony and make-up of the Houses Of Parliament.

The tour began at 11:45am when the group passed security and were taken to the Royal Entrance, The Royal Gallery and into the House Of Lords. The tour guide was great at engaging group opinions and testing our knowledge of the political landscape. She also pointed out the various quirks of previous politicians and royalty throughout history. Announcing that one previous King was “the Justin Bieber of his day!”

Passing through the bustling crossroad that is central lobby with its press cameras and lobbyists, the party meandered its way into the East division lobby and in to the House Of Commons. The modern protective glass shielding the public gallery did little to quell the sense of sheer importance and political history of the chamber. Walking past the dispatch boxes where laws are passed and history is made, adds weight to the experience.

After a walk through the impressive Westminster Hall, the group made it back to the Parliamentary Education Centre for an interactive quiz including the Suffragette Movement and was later joined by Kit Malthouse MP. The young people were talking to him about campaigning for free counsellors in schools to combat mental health problems in young people and the scrapping of tuition fees. Kit talked about his first year as MP and how he splits his time between work and family. There was a discussion on Brexit and the work Kit is doing to combat online abuse.

Before heading home, there was time for one last trip into the public gallery in the House Of Lords. At the time, the Lords were discussing the breaches of humanitarian law in Yemen so it was great to witness parliament in action.

Dean Marriner, Andover Town Councillor “As part of the Town Council’s initiative to fund and help guide the Andover Youth Council, I was pleased to get involved in this educational trip. Getting young people engaged in politics is difficult but this experience opens up the doors to both the quirky traditions and historical significance of Westminster. The education centre and state of the art projection room put us front and centre for some of parliament’s biggest decisions and I think the young people enjoyed having the chance to meet, and grill, Mr Malthouse at the same time.”

Mo Sweeney, Test Valley Community Services “Test Valley Community Services was pleased to be able to facilitate a visit to Parliament with local authority partners. Young people from Andover Youth Council made this special trip enabling them to see real Democracy in action, learn about the history of our political system and understand the Westminster processes.”

Anna has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Anna can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at