Conservative MP Lee Rowley visited Tupton Hall’s Sixth Form to discuss some local and national issues.
Mr Rowley, who is originally from Hasland near Chesterfield, is the MP for many of Tupton’s local areas including Clay Cross, North Wingfield and Hasland. The first Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire in nearly a century, he was elected at the 2017 general election. Mr Rowley told sixth form students that he had previously worked in the private sector for ten years but now spends his time either in Westminster or in the local areas discussing current affairs.
When asked about national issues such as lowering the voting age to 16, he acknowledged the fact that as a country we are very inconsistent as, at the age of 16, you can do many things including joining the army but you can’t vote. However he also said, that in his opinion, there is zero chance of this becoming a law due to the fact it has only been put forward by a backbench MP, and has to go through six or seven stages of parliament before becoming a law.
Other national issues discussed were Brexit and how this is going to affect students’ and young people’s opportunities. Mr Rowley himself voted 'leave' and mentioned that he would like to reach a sensible position with the EU and get a good deal. He said he was more concerned that the media had made Brexit into something ‘existential’ and suggested that we should be concentrating more on national debts, quality of roads, education and artificial intelligence leading to a loss of jobs.
Mr Rowley explained that the main issues he is concerned with in North East Derbyshire are housing developments, understanding fracking proposals and HS2. He said that generally as an MP, he would like to see spending reduced, even money that is being spent in a positive way, because our children or grandchildren would have to pay the debts, but that it was also important to put more money into education and healthcare systems.
Giving advice to students interested in getting involved in politics, Mr Rowley said it was important that young people got their voices heard. However, he said that in his opinion, this shouldn’t be through things such as Twitter or emails from websites such as Change.org because this doesn’t make an impact. Instead, the MP suggested, you should individually email MPs to pressure or question them directly. Finally, Mr Rowley suggested that young people who have an interest in politics should get involved with the party closest to their views and choose one they believe is making the greatest changes to the issues that matter to them.
Year 12 Student Journalist