23rd June 2017
Writing: George Corby (Year 11)
Photography: Isaac Shenoy (Year 12)
Editing: Matthew Dagnall (Year 12)
Last Friday the right honourable Cheryl Gillan (MP for Chesham and Amersham), came to Challoner’s to talk to students about life as an MP and to answer any of their questions. The library was overflowing with students of all age groups, all keen to get a chance to speak to their MP.
Mrs Gillan opened with a short talk about her journey to becoming an MP and her current daily life. She talked about how she joined the Conservative party at age 16 and in particular, we were surprised to learn how hard the selection to become an MP was - she had to compete against 206 other candidates within the Conservative Party just to stand for election in Chesham and Amersham back in 1992. It was also surprising to learn how life as an MP now involved a seven-day working week; constant emails, letters and phone calls from both constituents and the party leadership gives no time for a break!
We then enjoyed a 20 minute Q&A session with Mrs Gillan. Students asked probing questions about her voting record, especially her votes against gay marriage and against giving 16 year-olds a vote in the EU referendum. Mrs Gillan felt that getting into politics at the age of 16 can ruin one's childhood - something the crowd certainly did not agree with! Furthermore much deeper ideas were also explored, such as whether true social mobility still exists within Britain. Mrs Gillan responded to this claim with a personal anecdote of her husband coming from an extremely poor background to becoming a leading figure in the UK space industry.
Overall, it was a fascinating lunch hour and it was great to see so many students getting involved in politics at such an interesting time for the country. Thank you to Cheryl Gillan for taking the time to come and talk to us and to the History Team for organising this event.