Politics

Politics affects us all and never stands still. If you are curious about how decisions are made and communicated, why we have certain structures and organisations, and how they came to be formed, then we have the right degree for you.

Our Politics degrees bring the real world of politics into the classroom and enable you to combine the study of Politics with either Criminology, Law, History or Sociology.

As well as developing a thorough knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject specialism, you will gain a real-life understanding of politics, looking at current practice in the UK, while also focusing on changes around the world.

Field Trips

Edge Hill Politics students spent time in Westminster this Semester, both working for MPs and taking part in visits thanks to support from Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund.

A group of North West MPs hosted students in their offices giving them a chance to experience what it is like to work at Westminster and to help with the tasks that go on in a Parliamentary office.

The group were involved in helping with responses to constituents, with organisational tasks and with research. They got a behind-the-scenes look at Westminster that visitors rarely get.  Alongside the work experience, students also saw Select Committees, Question Times, and Chamber and Westminster Hall debates.

Edge Hill Politics is grateful to all the MPs who helped host the students in particular to Stephen Twigg MP and his team for facilitating the trip.

Plans are underway for a repeat visit in 2020.

Here are some of the reflections from students on the trip:

First Year Law with Politics Student Taylor Burrell

February 2019 was an extraordinary time to see first-hand the inner workings of Parliament in what is an unprecedented era for UK politics.
As I travelled to London for two days, including a one-day placement shadowing Labour Party politician, Chris Matheson MP and his team, the headlines were full of reports of resignations and heated debates around Brexit and immigration. Chris Matheson is the MP for the City of Chester.

Day one began with introductions in my assigned MP’s parliamentary office where I met Chris and his team.

A few doors down from Chris’s office was the Prime Minister’s office; the proximity enabling me to enjoy a fascinating insight into the work of Theresa May’s team and in particular to observe her staff vigorously preparing for her much anticipated statement on the progress of Brexit at 12:30pm.

Prior to the statement, I joined the Prime Minister’s security team behind the door of the speaker’s chair. The Prime Minister, Theresa May , the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond were only a handful of the political celebrities who walked by.

In the afternoon, I joined Kate, Chris Matheson’s parliamentary assistant, in attending an APPG (all-party parliamentary group) on music education. The group comprised of MPs from both major parties, and is open to any MP or Peer with an interest. David Warburton MP and Sandie Shaw, a famous vocal artist and campaigner for the arts, led on a discussion on how to increase the number of school students engaging in a musical education. The meeting provided a first-hand experience of how members from different parties can cooperate to achieve a positive outcome.
On the second day I attended two Select Committees, the first of which was the Home Affairs Committee. The Committee was questioning the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and permanent secretary to the home office, Sir Phillip Rutnam on the case of Shamima Begum, a British- born woman who left the UK in February 2015 aged fifteen, to join ISIL in Syria. Her intention to return to the UK in February 2019 resulted in a fierce public debate and much divided opinion.

By far the most interesting meeting I attended, this committee led by Yvette Cooper asked questions on the consistent handling of returning ‘fighters’ from abroad, the rights of EU citizens and the number of migrants crossing the English channel. The Select Committees were surprisingly informal; members were constantly on their phones and engaged in some particularly heated and animated discussions. This was certainly a contrast to the International Development Committee, where members acted in a far more respectful and patient manner towards their peers.
All in all, the two days I spent in Westminster were extremely valuable. I experienced the variety and fast pace of a working day for an MP and their team. In the course of a day, I observed the parliamentary assistant’s day replying to constituents, organising meetings and managing invitations to attend receptions and conferences. I also experienced first-hand how our country is run and the behind- the- scenes aspect of our legislature. Chris and his staff did their upmost to ensure I benefited as much as possible from the day, including introducing me to local MP and deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle.

Second Year Sociology with Politics Student Amos Wynn

Throughout the days I spent in Parliament I went to a number of events and meetings, with each one being different but all having their historic traditions still in place. Even something as simple as prayers before discussing issues in the chamber stood out.

The procedure of the Lords entering the Chamber was also something that stood out, with the speaker being marched in.

It was interesting to see the Lords in action and how they discussed issues compared to the Commons.

It was a much calmer discussion and each person was able to speak uninterrupted to make their argument. This was much different to watching Prime Ministers questions the following day, when at times the person speaking could not be heard due to everyone else in the chamber shouting. Every time someone spoke there was a series of jeers across the room with John Bercow having to do a lot more than the Lords speaker. But the Commons wasn’t always like that, it was surprising to see how empty is was on other occasions throughout the few days.

Despite important issues such as education being discussed the chamber wasn’t even a quarter full, with only a few MP’s in attendance.

I also went to a range of different types of Select Committee Meetings.

One was an investigation into abortion law in Northern Ireland, discussing how the Supreme Court should intervene in the situation and asking if current regulations were a breach in human rights.
The panel of MPs from different parties questioned different panels of people who had a closer idea of the situation and had contrasting opinions of the situation.

It was interesting to see how it worked and how the panel gathered evidence and reacted to the views of the people they were questioning.

Another meeting I attended concerned a sub-section of a potential piece of legislation.

This process was very formal and structured. Firstly, it began with the government reading out their proposed plan, using very traditional Parliamentary language to go through each point.
Then it was the turn of the opposition to propose changes to the government’s plans and how they feel it should be changed.

There was then some dialogue backwards and forwards between the two sides before it was time to vote on the issue.

Once again, the traditions of Parliament were evident as the doors to the room were locked whilst each MP in the meeting gave their decision.
Despite the government getting what they wanted, in the larger scale of things the decision made is merely a small part of something much bigger.

The whole trip was eye opening to see how the ritual of Parliament remains as well as the way things are conducted.