Edge Hill University students interviewing Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow

Students were given the opportunity to learn more about the world of politics when they interviewed Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, last month.

John Bercow visited Edge Hill to deliver guest lecture, Order! Order! The Making of a Modern Parliament.

Second year PR with Politics students, Jessica Kieran (19) and Jessica Potter (20), along with Paula Keaveney, Lecturer in Public Relations, asked John a series of questions about his career, changes is government and how difficult it is to have a ‘normal life.’

As this year sees the 100th anniversary of some women getting the Parliamentary vote, they also asked him about the importance of getting more women interested or involved in politics, as well as discussing the significance of Parliament’s Vote 100 initiative.

Jessica Kieran said:

“It was an amazing opportunity to be able to meet with John Bercow and a privilege to be able to interview him. His lecture was inspiring and the way he engaged with students and the rest of the community was wonderful.”

“It was great to find out more about John Bercow’s role at the House of Commons and how he has changed and developed it over time,” added Jessica Potter. “I thoroughly enjoyed his engaging and entertaining lecture.”

Jessica Potter, John Bercow and Jessica Kieran

L-R: Jessica Potter, John Bercow and Jessica Kieran

Paula Keaveney said:

“It was really great to hear about Mr Speaker’s work at first hand and to get to understand the pressures and the pleasures of such an important job.  We’re very grateful for the time he spent with students, staff and guests.   Events like these are an important part of Edge Hill’s approach to studying politics – it is the real people doing the real jobs that bring real understanding of what actually goes on in the real world of politics.”

Over 300 people turned up for the lecture, during which John discussed the importance of modernising Parliament and the House of Commons, and why he believes it’s imperative to open up the democratic processes in the UK.

“I think Edge Hill University has reason to stand tall on the back of its accomplishments,” said John. “It is a very professional set up, it may have been in existence as a university for only a relatively short period… it has several faculties, growing disciplines, really committed staff and over my experience over the past couple of hours some really engaged, enthusiastic, and I’d go as far to say excited students.

“It started life, of course, in 1885 as the first non-denominational teacher training college for women and while it is perfectly right and proper for all sorts of institutions not least university to participate in the proper commemoration of the 100th anniversary of votes for some women there is a notable piquancy about Edge Hill of doing so given the strong grounding of the a considerable part of the suffragette movement in and around Liverpool.”

Watch the interview below: