During the autumn, the UK’s political parties hold their annual conferences. This October the Aquinas Politics department have been able to take one group of students to see Labour in action in Liverpool, and another group to Birmingham for the Conservatives. At the Labour event we saw speeches by Emily Thornberry (Shadow Foreign Affairs) and Keir Starmer (Shadow Brexit) amongst others. In Birmingham, we saw speeches from Phillip Hammond (Chancellor) and Michael Gove (Environment).
At both events there were opportunities to visit stalls run by various businesses and pressure groups, all of whom are seeking to influence policy in relation to their campaigns. Many of the students spent a large part of their day speaking with these activists and learning about their companies/causes.
One of the highlights of both visits was the chance to speak with prominent politicians and broadcasters. We were lucky enough to get some time with Jon Snow from Channel 4 News, and with the BBC’s Laura Kuensberg. All in all, two successful trips which will hopefully have helped the students learn more about the UK’s main political parties, the role of the media, and the part played by pressure groups in our democracy.