22nd March 2023
Last week the Year 12 Politics students and our Debate Society welcomed local Labour MP Kerry McCarthy to the St Brendan’s campus. Kerry represents the constituents of Bristol East in Parliament, she was first elected in 2005 and was re-elected in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019, making Kerry the longest-serving of Bristol’s current MPs by some distance. Kerry has now been re-selected to stand as Labour’s candidate at the next election, which has to take place by January 2025.
Last June, Kerry was appointed by Keir Starmer as Shadow Minister for Climate Change. This means Kerry is a part of the frontbench Climate Change and Net Zero team led by Ed Miliband. Kerry is currently working on Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan, international climate change, and issues like the circular economy, green finance, energy bills and nature-based solutions. Our Politics teachers handed the mic to our students who were extremely eager to get their voices heard and their concerns put across to Kerry.
We love introducing our students to people that work in communities, industries and areas that they are passionate about and giving them the opportunity to interact. The first question Kerry was asked was “how did you become a politician?” Kerry replied that prior to being an MP she was a lawyer, she said fighting for what she believes in has been instilled in her. To become a politician you have to believe in yourself for others to believe in you and to vote for you. She described how she had worked full-time as a lawyer and attended meetings in the evening as a party candidate.
Our students asked Kerry if she ever found it difficult to voice concerns. Kerry explained the Ballot process and that if her topic isn’t selected to be discussed at the Ballot she either has to wait 5 weeks for the next one or she will write to ministers.
Our students also asked if Kerry felt Keir Starmer (Leader of the Labour Party) was experienced enough to lead the country out of the current cost of living crisis. Kerry said she has confidence in her leader as he has a vast amount of experience compared to his competitors.
In the remaining hour our students asked a number of in-depth questions about climate change and discussed the effect it will have on their lives. Kerry was questioned about the Shama Begum case and some taxing questions about the war in Ukraine and the defacing of the Edward Colston statue. One of our students asked Kerry her stance on the Kurdish–Turkish conflict, however, Kerry was quick to own up to the fact she didn’t know enough about the subject to give a knowledgeable answer.
On a local level Kerry mentioned she is concerned about the ongoing traffic issues in Brislington, so we look forward to seeing how Kerry works to improve the issues that have such a massive direct impact on our students, staff and community.
It was great to see how our engaged our students were throughout the session and to witness the complex questions that were raised.