STUDENTS have been urged to help shape the constitution by one of the country’s most seasoned politicians.

Now a member of the House of Lords, Baroness Armstrong was Labour MP for North West Durham for many years and the longest serving chief whip.

The Sunderland peer visited Carmel College, Darlington, to inspire the next generation of politicians and gauge opinion on the country’s second house.

Loading article content

She told 40 members of the student council: “You are the ones who are going to have to shape what the constitution looks like in the future.”

The students debated the issue of the ‘second house’ with opinion split. Many students thought the House of Lords should be appointed as this gave the membership its collective expertise, while others thought it was more democratic to elect the second house.

Deputy head boy James Harris said: “Many people, particularly the young, are not particularly interested in politics and sessions like this are really effective at bringing the subject alive.”

The visit was arranged through the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme, which has been running across the UK since 2007 and has so far involved around 50,000 young people in support of the citizenship curriculum.

Carmel College principal Maura Regan added: “It was a real privilege having the Baroness with us to give the students an invaluable insight into the workings of one of the world’s oldest democratic institutions.

“We are all guilty of taking our democracy for granted and it is essential to view the world in much broader terms to give them greater appreciation and empathy with the global community of which we are part.”