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At Edge Hill, our degree content is as real world as possible. That means projects linked to political organisations, it means guest speakers and field trips. Our Politics and International Relations degrees combine theory with the real world aspects of politics, so you graduate with the skills and knowledge to work within the system and change people’s lives.

We’ll help you to learn about the political landscape of the world. We’ll also encourage you to be prepared and keep on top of the news as it develops. Our degree content evolves and changes in line with current events and the ever changing world of politics to ensure our teaching is as up-to-date as possible. This is one of the reasons we have been voted 2nd in the UK for learning opportunities (National Student Survey 2023 – Politics).

We will be taking politics and international relations students to experience party conferences this year, including The Labour Party Annual Conference being held in Liverpool. To give a glimpse of what the 2024 visit might be like, we asked second year BA (Hons) History and Politics student James McConnell to tell us about the group’s visit to last year’s conference.

labour party conference

“The Labour Party Annual Conference took place at Liverpool’s Arena and Conference Centre over a few days in October 2023. Held very shortly after the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Manchester, the Labour event was in Liverpool for the second year running. This conference saw a sizeable increase in attendance, going from around 12,500 previously to around 16,000. There was also a year-on-year increase in stalls from larger companies. We attended on the final day of the conference and while we weren’t able to see Keir Starmer, there was still lots that we managed to see and learn.

When we arrived we first listened to a speech made by the Shadow Education Secretary, Bridget Phillipson. We found this interesting from a student perspective because we often feel like politicians can ignore the potential votes of students. We also spent a good amount of time looking around the fringe activities and stalls. There were lots of different stalls and we enjoyed speaking with those staffing the displays and asking them questions. Those running the stalls told us they wanted to communicate with politicians and conference visitors because they all have a message to share. As well as hearing speeches and visiting the stalls, we spent time with Ashley Dalton, the MP for West Lancashire. She talked about her first few months as an MP and about the potential effectiveness of a Labour Government.

The conference really helped me and the other students understand the influence an annual party conference can have, especially from the news coverage it gets across the country, the announcement of policies and the attitudes of its politicians. The conference was very insightful.

The speeches we attended helped us grasp what kind of direction Labour will be taking in the future, as well as provided us with a sense of how they communicate their messages. Seeing all the different stalls not only allowed us to develop a better idea of the different groups within the party itself, but also of the high-profile companies, like Google and Specsavers attempting to be endorsed by notable politicians.

Speaking with Ashley Dalton was very enjoyable and, for me, was the personal highlight of the conference. Our discussions gave me a great insight into how a new person reacts to the experience of Parliament and how it felt to join committees and sit in the commons during sessions like Prime Ministers Questions. It gave me a great understanding of how she manages her duties.

The main aspects of the conference I will remember include the conversations we had with Ashley Dalton, the enjoyment of talking about her experiences as a new MP and her thoughts on being in the commons, which was especially useful for future reference. Outside of this, I enjoyed walking around the fringe stalls and talking with the people there. The conference was good to experience for both my politics degree studies and my personal interest in politics.”

James McConnell
BA (Hons) History and Politics

If you are curious about how decisions are made and communicated, or why we have certain structures and organisations and how they came to be formed, then a Politics and International Relations degree could be for you. Graduate with the skills and knowledge to work within the system and change people’s lives. If you understand politics, you understand how the world works, and how to change it for the better.

January 18, 2024