Introduction to the British Parliament: CPA-UK hosts MYPs for the first leg of the Study Visit
YPP Study Visit
November 28, London, United Kingdom; The 13 members of the 8th Youth Parliament of Pakistan had a rigorous day of orientation to the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary system, hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, United Kingdom.
The day started off with a tour of the British Parliament, where the MYPs learnt of the history of both the chambers, workings and the separation of powers between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The members learnt that the House of Lords has more of an advisory role, whereas the members of the House of Commons largely represent the concerns of their constituencies. Most of the scrutiny takes place at the level of the Select Committees of the House of Commons and Lords, whereas the legislation is processed through set conventions, including multiple readings of a Bill. The MYPs were informed that although the procedures regarding operations of the Parliament is not completely codified, there is an attempt to make everything emanating from those procedures available. The MYPs were briefed by Ms. Clemmie Brown, Clerk in the Public Office, Ms. Katya Cassidy, Clerk in the Journal Office, and Mr. Daniel Whitford, Clerk in the Committee Office.
While talking to the MYPs, Mr. Andrew Tuggey, Chief Executive of CPA UK branch highlighted the well-resourced staff of the British Parliament, where there is a constructive relationship between the Parliamentarians and the Clerks. It was highlighted that there is a yearly seminar in Westminster for parliamentary practices and procedures. The main agendas commonly reside on women empowerment, human rights and environment protection, while this year’s seminar was held on cyber security.
Ms. Eve Samson, Clerk of the European Scrutiny Committee shed light on Britain’s exit from the European Union and the legal framework available to execute it. She commented that majority Members of the Parliament still maintain that the membership of the EU should be reconsidered and windows for renegotiations should be sought, however it may not be likely for MPs to overturn a public decision. She highlighted that the political elite in the majority, for a very long time, was happy with the European Union, while the section of the populace that voted in the referendum exhibited sentiments to the contrary. She also explained the unique workings of the European Scrutiny Committee, which include, taking up different proposals regarding the exit from the European Union, screening them, and then authoring reports containing recommendations for the purpose.
The Rt. Hon. Ms. Ann Taylor, the Baroness Taylor of Bolton, MP, and Baroness Liz Barker, MP spoke to MYPs about the role of the House of Lords in the British Parliament. It was emphasized that although the decisions emanating from the House of Commons always take precedence since its members are elected, the work of the House of Lords is important since its members can discuss any issue of public importance without taking into account interests of constituencies. This also means that members of the House of Lords represent the interests of marginalized and minority groups of the British population. They also highlighted various reform proposals regarding membership of the House of Lords, including introduction of a retirement age, a limited tenure, or having working peers instead of permanent members of the House of Lords.
The MYPs also visited the recently established Parliamentary Education Centre. The members were told that the concept of the Parliamentary Education Centre is of a robust outreach to younger strata of the country’s population, including school-going children. The Education Centre aims to reach out to at least a 100,000 people, mostly students, during the first year of its establishment. In this regard, the Speaker of the House of Commons held a Skype session every Monday morning with visitors of the Parliamentary Education Center.
The MYPs’ day in the British Parliament concluded with attendance of the Question Hour of the House of Commons.
The MYPs headed off to Copenhagen, Denmark where they will undergo study visit under the auspices of the DANIDA Fellowship Centre for four days on various aspects of Denmark’s governance, parliamentary and political system.
Members of 8th Youth Parliament Pakistan who are part of the Study Visit include: Mr. Abdur Rehman (YP3-54-ICT01) Deputy Speaker, Third session, Ms. Afia Waheed Khan (YP2-13-PUNJAB02) Deputy Speaker, Second Session, Mr. Azeem Armaghan (YP4-53-ICT01) Leader of the Opposition, Fourth Session, Mr. Basharat Ali (YP1-59-GB02), Ms. Bakhtawar Komal (YP4-06-KP02), Mr. Bilawal Bin Nasir (YP2-17-PUNJAB06), Mr. Faizan Daud (YP1-15-PUNJAB04), Leader of the House, First Session, Mr. Iftikhar Khan (YP4-55-FATA01), Mr. Irtaza Haider (YP1-18-PUNJAB07), Mr. Masood Ur Rehman (YP1-02-BALOCHISTAN02), Mr. Muhammad Usama (YP4-48-SINDH09), Mr. Nadir Khawaja (YP4-58-AJK01) Chairperson Youth Standing Committee on Finance, Fourth Session and Syed Muhammad Raza Zaidi (YP1-49-SINDH10). PILDAT officials accompanying the Delegation in UK included Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director PILDAT and Mr. Muhammad Saad, Projects Manager, PILDAT
PILDAT would like to thank Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, United Kingdom (CPA-UK) for the support and facilitation provided during one-day interactions held at the British Parliament.
The Youth Parliament Pakistan, a PILDAT initiative, is aimed at inculcating in youth of Pakistan values and spirit for democracy, the importance of dialogue, tolerance for others’ views, an understanding of the concept of Parliament and its role in democratic decision-making and oversight. The current programme is supported and financed by the Danish International Development Agency, Embassy of Denmark, Islamabad, who have been supporting the YPP since 2010.
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