Shadowing a peer in the House of Lords

Written by Sophie Holbourne, Girlguiding London South East county

In the weeks leading up to my House of Lords trip, the anticipation was slowly rising and I couldn’t hold my excitement.

When the day finally arrived, I was ready! My uniform was ironed and my bag was packed. And the train journey couldn’t have gone fast enough.

Standing outside, the parliament stood in all its glory. I was nervous! That’s when I met the first girl in my group, Cleo. She was so nice and we got on really well. Slowly, the rest of the group began to join us. And that was when we were ready for our time with the ITV camera crew! How exciting!

They instructed us to walk in and out of the revolving door so it would appear as though we were arriving and then leaving at the end of the day. It was good fun and we really enjoyed it.

When ITV had finished recording us, we went onto a tour of the palace. I was in awe of the building and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was on the inside. We learnt about the history of the House of Lords, including the change in voting age and gender.

After the tour, we were taken to the Cholmondeley Room. This is where we met our peers. Prior to the event, I found out I would be shadowing Lady Sugg. In preparation, I researched her history, passions and her role in the House of Lords. It just so happened that she served as Head of Operations at 10 Downing Street under the premiership of David Cameron. I was blown away by the person I would be shadowing as she appeared to be inspirational.

When we met, I found out I would be shadowing Lady Sugg with another member of The Senior Section called Laura. Lady Sugg was really nice and she told us everything about what she does in the House of Lords and what she does in the Department of Transport. We were lucky enough to go the Department of Transport and found out she is the Minister of Aviation. We were able to sit in a meeting with her and they discussed matters that I don’t think I totally understood, but it was really interesting as they discussed the need to ask Number 10 for permission. And it just so happened that Carol Vorderman had been at the Department of Transport only an hour before I arrived!

I was very apprehensive about lunch as I couldn’t imagine what the peers eat in the House of Lords. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the sandwiches and slices of pizza. But the best part was the chocolate brownie. It was very very nice! It was at this point that I discovered that they refer to toilet breaks as “comfort breaks”. Quite a few of us found that very funny.

The best part of the day for me was when we had the opportunity to watch the questions in the House of Lords. It was fascinating as they debated various topics. I sat at the top with the rest of the girls right next to the Queen's throne. They are a lot politer in the House of Lords and address one another as lords or ladies.

When we left to go home at the end of the day, I couldn’t wait to tell my mum everything I had done! It was an absolutely fabulous day and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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