Students had the chance to put the MP for Barrow and Furness on the spot on a number of hot topics when he visited Barrow Sixth Form College this week.
The first-year A level Government and Politics students quizzed MP John Woodcock on matters including Brexit, Donald Trump, the NHS crisis, Scottish independence, the rise in tax for the self employed in this week’s budget and the salary of an MP.
They also asked how he voted in the recent sex and relationships education bill and whether he thought sex education should be compulsory as well as his seeking his view on Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Woodcock said he had been very impressed by the students’ questions.
“I’m genuinely surprised and delighted at the very engaged level of debate and if it’s helpful to you to talk about this some more then I’d like to come back and do that.
“It is vital that we get young people coming through who properly engage in politics and are passionate about politics.”
He talked about how there was a strong case for younger people to have free travel on public transport. “Older people have bus passes because older people vote and younger people don’t,” he said.
The sixth form college, which has recently merged with Furness College, is one of the only places in the North-West where politics can be studied at A level at its Rating Lane campus.
Tutor Caroline Buckley said interest in the course is growing.“It’s a fantastic time to be studying politics as there is so much change at the moment and our students are loving the fast-pace of the political scene,” she said. “To be able to quiz our MP about what is happening is a great way to bring politics to life and get his views on some issues that are of particular importance to our students.
After the discussion student Ellie Nicholson, 16, of Askam, who had asked John how Labour planned to vote when the House of Lords amendments to the Brexit bill came back to the House of Commons, said it had been a great chance to get views directly from the MP.
“It is a good insight into politics and gives us a chance to hear about things that we might not learn about in the lesson,” she said.
Student Lennon Freel-Cornthwaite, 16, of Barrow said: “We covered a vast range of topics, it was really interesting, especially the discussion around the MPs salary. If he comes back I want to ask if he feels so strongly about his salary then would he give a percentage of it to charity.”