UK (Edge Hill University) Real-world experience for first year politics students

Politics and International Relations at Edge Hill gives you a real-world experience of the political landscape. Networking opportunities, plenty of lively debates, field trips to party conferences and political events is all part of our programme. We recently hosted the Political Studies Association (PSA) Undergraduate Conference – a chance for students to present papers, to debate issues and to hear from key speakers.

First year BA (Hons) History & Politics students, Declan Worden and James McConnell share their experience:

Recently elected MP, Ashley Dalton, joined the event to give her views about the sometimes “weird” world of politics and to take questions. Ms Dalton, who was elected as the new West Lancashire MP earlier in the year, gave a speech on the first few weeks of her new position, and on experiences in Westminster so far. Ms Dalton gave an insight into the atmosphere and the feeling of being a new MP and the challenge of working in the Houses of Parliament, describing the new experience as ‘weird’. Ms Dalton told us about the formalities in Westminster, ‘there are all the unspoken rules that no one really tells you about’, and how she had to put the pieces together for herself. However, she praised the support she was given by all MPs, on both sides of the aisle to help her find her feet in Parliament.

Outside of the ‘halls of power’, Ms. Dalton commented on her eagerness to encourage her constituents to voice their concerns to her, wanting to demonstrate that MPs are there to serve the voters. Ms. Dalton told the audience about the plans to hold monthly Facebook Q&A’s and how she will attempt to work closely with people all over her West Lancashire constituency. Being a new MP, Ms Dalton has said she is ‘very excited’ to have a chance to enact her ideas in the constituency, and she stressed the importance of encouraging the younger members of the public to get into politics and understand how the Government is affecting their futures.

After giving her insightful speech, Ms Dalton then took questions from the audience at Edge Hill. Questions ranged from her future prospects in Parliament to questions about her party and its decisions on a range of issues. The first question came from the host of the panel, Ashwaan Joomun-Whitehead about the Labour party’s recent decision not to allow Jeremy Corbyn to stand as a Labour candidate in future elections and what impact that will have on the youth vote. Ms Dalton answered, saying that the party can move forward without Mr Corbyn and that the issues surrounding his removal are not ones that should be associated with the party. She said that youth can still resonate with Labour, and she is keen to work with places like Edge Hill, to galvanize young people to allow their voices to be heard.

Questions followed about her life in parliament, in which she outlined that she hopes to be selected for a committee following the recess, and she emphasized again that she is keen for young people to get involved with politics, especially young women. She said there is a real need for more women to be involved with politics, to help bring more of an insight into the issues that women face. The damming report on the Met Police was raised. The revelations were described by Ms Dalton  as ‘disgraceful’ and she said that Labour is keen to transform the police from a ‘force’ to a ‘service’.

history & politics student james mcconnell head and shoulders photo

“The conference was a new experience for me, it had showed the scale to which politics affects many different topics through the different presentations by all the skilled students that had submitted. It had helped me personally with presentation skills, with trying to keep on time and keeping slides short and sweet. The appearance of Ashley Dalton MP was very insightful into the feelings and experience of a brand-new MP and how it feels to be in Parliament, getting a quick interview on our podcast was especially exciting. The responsibility of planning of the conference was interesting and I believed it was executed well. Going forward, it has helped me conduct research better and present more efficiently.

James McConnell
BA (Hons) History & Politics

Here at Edge Hill, our degree content is as real world as possible. We focus our teaching on the real world and you’ll learn about events happening right now. You’ll graduate with a whole range of transferable skills, from writing a speech to analysing complex information. Staff are well connected and so can put students in touch with politicians and others in that environment.  And we have a good range of expertise and experience with staff involved in expert networks from international law to the ins and outs of local government.