Tag Archives: Parliament Week Debates

Parliament Week Debates at York Gate


Students from a local school came to the District Headquarters at York Gate in central London to experience a debate in much the same way as one would take place in the House of Commons in our Parliament.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Wembley, and with a ‘Division Bell’ and cries of ‘Clear the Lobbies’, the students had a great time as well as having some difficult decisions to make on the motions before the house.  Towards the end, ‘Order Papers’ were being waved and there were calls of “Here! Here!” and “Shame!”

The first motion, loosely based on Early Day Motion 66 (02 June 2015) stated “This house would ban Supermarkets from throwing away food approaching its Best Before Date”.  A difficult motion that was argued well, but failed to get a majority vote.

The second motion, loosely based on a combination of Early Day Motions stated “This house would ban lotteries paying out extraordinary large prizes over £10m and instead would pay more money to good causes”.  A complex motion that got the support of the house.

All the entrants received a copy of the Andrew Marr book, “Who’s in Charge?”  Given that 12-13 year old students are arguing these points, raising points of information and providing clever and witty rebuttals, Rotary in London faces a wonderful opportunity in the field of student debating.

Parliament Week Debates get under way!

Debates in the style of the Houses of Parliament got under way today – Friday 15 November 2013 – at District Headquarters in York Gate.


Pupils from the King Alfred School debated whether or not the death penalty should be re-introduced for acts of terrorism. Pictured here are proposer Jordan (left), Louise acting as Speaker (centre) and Ethan as opposer (right). District Governor Dick was also there to make sure than the discussion did not get out of hand!

The event was run very much like the House of Commons, with those in the ‘House’ wishing to speak standing up and catching the Speaker’s eye. At the end of the debate, Speaker Louise rang the bell, and called for the lobbies to be cleared. Those present then filed through either the Yes Lobby or the No Lobby, and the Teller (Miriam Specterman) reported the count for the Ayes to the Right and the No’s to the Left. To much waiving of order papers, the motion was carried with shouts of ‘Here! Here!” from the benches on that side.

All agreed it had been great fun even though the subject was a serious one. None of those participating had had much experience of public debating, but the Rotary event at York Gate has whetted their appetites for more debate.

Our thanks go the members of the Rotary Club of Wembley who supported the event and managed the ‘House’.