To celebrate Parliament Week and mark 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote, Rebecca Harris MP visited Holy Family School in Benfleet and welcomed SEEVIC student Elisha Deller to the Houses of Parliament to play a part in our thriving democracy.
Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved. Parliament Week is part of the UK Parliament's Vote 100 programme, celebrating equal voting rights and other milestones in the UK's democratic history- such as the record high of 32% women MP’s that were elected to the House of Commons in the 2017 General Election.
During Parliament Week and as part of the Vote 100 campaign, there was a national competition to name a Lego statue of a suffragette #NameOurSister. Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who were both leaders in the suffragette movement, picked her favourites for an online poll that decided the most popular name- which was Hope.
Rebecca Harris MP said "As a member for Castle Point I welcomed Elisha's involvement during Parliament Week 2018. I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation in our democracy. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Elisha and hearing about her visions for the future".
During her week at Parliament, Elisha honed her research and letter writing skills, wrote press releases and had a tour of Parliament. Rebecca Harris also organised tickets for Prime Ministers Questions as a special treat for all Elisha's hard work.
Elisha commented on her experience saying: "I have learned so much in my week at Parliament, the people I worked with were absolutely amazing and happy to teach me. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity as it opened my eyes to the importance of politics. I especially enjoyed attending Prime Ministers Questions and learning more about Brexit. I would encourage everyone who is still in school like me to engage with politics as it is vital to know what is happening in our country."
Also this month as part of Parliament Week, Rebecca was invited to Holy Family School in Benfleet to meet the school council. Rebecca learned how the school practices democracy and enables pupils to have a strong voice through the school council. Students had the opportunity to ask Rebecca how she became an MP, what her favourite parts of her job are, and find out how she represents constituents like them in Parliament.
Deputy Head Teacher, Mrs Hurley remarked: “I was extremely proud of the children’s engagement and impressed with their questions.”
After the Question & Answer session many students commented that maybe one they would like to become an MP and help their local area like Rebecca.