3 interesting things you might not know that we learnt about Parliament

By Samantha Reeve, policy officer of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Centre: Samantha Reeve with Policy and Parliamentary training attendees
In July we held two Parliamentary training sessions, one in London and the other in Birmingham. As part of our Strengthening Voices Project we invited BME organisations interested in learning about how Parliament works and how they can influence policy. The sessions were organised in partnership with the Parliamentary Outreach Service. 
The Parliamentary Outreach sessions were a learning experience, not just for attendees, but for myself and the Voice4Change team. So we thought we would share three of the most interesting things we learnt from the sessions:
  1. MPs are not required to have a website, and some don’t! Frank Dobson, MP for Camden has no website, however you can find his contact details on the Parliament website.
  2. The Chancellor is the only person who can drink in the House of Commons, an he can only do so during the budget speech
  3. Russell Brand, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Grant have all given evidence to select committees.
Not only did we learn some interesting Parliamentary trivia, the sessions taught us so much about our members and their policy ambitions. The main afternoon activity entailed planning a piece of lobbying work, where each group were asked to select a topic they were interested in and to plan their work around that. The variety of topics discussed were astounding, from improved PSHE education, the bedroom tax to better storage facilities for bicycles. The wide range of issues that our members are interested in is a reflection of a vibrant and diverse BME voluntary sector, working across society in many different ways. 
Following the huge response to these sessions we plan to hold more training in September, so do sign up to our e-alert to keep informed!