I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating 40 years since @arsenal won the FA Cup Final against @manchesterunited in 1979. Our lunch at the Emirates Stadium was a wonderful reminder of our thrilling 3:2 win four decades ago. It was also a chance to meet some of my Arsenal heroes - from Liam Brady to Frank Stapleton, from Pat Rice to Sammy Nelson. It’s always fun to meet Arsenal fans from the world of sport and entertainment too, including my good friend @frank_warren_official, actor Stephen Rea, champion jockey AP McCoy, @bbclineofduty actor Adrian Dunbar and comedian, writer and actor Alan Davies.
We haven’t had an #Ask the Speaker session for a few weeks because of the Bank Holidays and Easter recess, so it was great to be back in the chair again this morning. Today I had the pleasure of taking questions from Wellacre Academy, Trafford - a non-selective all-boys school with around 625 students. I was asked if I thought 16 & 17 year olds should be able to vote (I do), whether vaccinations should be compulsory, if the House of Lords should be elected, and for my views on tackling air pollution.
It was a pleasure to meet final year students from @uniofsurrey with their lecturer Steven Van Hauwaert in Speaker’s House this week. We discussed the value of the #pmqs format, how I balance impartiality as Speaker with being a constituency MP, and what I enjoy most about the job.
It was wonderful to meet pupils and staff at St Mary Abbots Primary School in the leafy heart of Kensington yesterday. The children asked me why Speakers are dragged to the chair, about the most heated debate I have presided over, whether I was bored of Brexit, if I got into trouble at school, and the most challenging part of my job. It was great to meet headteacher Nicola Doyle, and to hear all about the ethos of this highly sought-after school from one of its governors, Kiaron Whitehead.
Some occasions bring such a smile to your face - and meeting students and staff from Fitzwaryn School in #Wantage was certainly one of them. Having visited this amazing school in October 2018, it was great to meet the gang again. They asked such insightful questions, and we discussed many things, such as: the use of mobile phones in the chamber, the changes I’ve seen in Parliament since my speakership began, and should school uniforms be compulsory. The children were especially pleased to have been mentioned by @theresamay and @ed_vaizey during #pmqs I was also not surprised to be told that the school has just achieved another ‘outstanding’ Ofsted.
Happy St George’s Day! It was a pleasure to enable Andrew Rosindell to host the St George’s Day reception at Speaker’s House.
It’s always much more difficult to stand out from the crowd - which is exactly what @gretathunberg has done with her school climate strikes movement. Greta told me she has been inspired to protest after her teachers explained about climate change and she was shown the extent of plastic in the ocean. I think Greta, who has travelled from Stockholm to Strasbourg, Rome and then London to spread her message, has been incredibly brave, resourceful and principled.
I was honoured to give a lecture entitled ‘Parliament in an anti-politics age’ @polstudiesassoc in @nottstrentuni last week. I discussed how public engagement is higher than ever, partly because of the focus on #Brexit. According to number crunchers SimiliarWeb, we have record numbers of people watching the House of Commons on parliamentlive.tv with 1.75m viewers in March. That compares to a more usual 230,000 in October 2018. It is an astonishing level of public engagement in our proceedings.
Great to meet the winners of this year’s #ukparliamentawards2019 The awards recognise people who have helped shape our agenda and made @ukparliament more accessible to people throughout the #UK. I also used the opportunity to give a shout out to my parliamentary colleagues who really do work their guts out - especially right now.
Great to meet students from @unistrathclyde and Dr Neil McGarvey, their senior teaching fellow at the university’s School of Government and Public Policy. @unistrathclyde is one of 24 universities offering the Parliamentary Studies Module, which is taught by tutors alongside officials from the @ukparliament The module is designed to give students a detailed knowledge of the work and processes of Parliament.