On Friday 26 January, the MP for South West Wiltshire, Dr Andrew Murrison, visited Warminster School to speak to pupils studying History at GCSE, A Level and for the IB. Dr Murrison was elected to Parliament for the then Westbury constituency in June 2001 and has, since the 2010 General Election, represented the constituency of South West Wiltshire. As the current Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, one of his key aims is to give Northern Ireland the due care and attention it deserves, particularly in the current political climate. Having supported the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, he believes the British people made the right call on 23rd June and wants the country to unite behind Brexit and make sure it is a success.

Dr Murrison spoke about his work as a parliamentary and constituency MP, and sketched out his political beliefs as a member of the Conservative Party. He then opened himself to questions from pupils, many of which focused on the current political issues of the impact of Brexit, the nature of parliamentary democracy, spending plans, the media portrayal of politics and the ‘Trump effect’. His passion for politics was clearly evident, and Dr Murrison gave the assembled pupils a great deal to consider. 

The engagement of pupils was also clear to see. Questions ranged from the necessity of Britain’s relationship with the European Union to global defence to why young people are enthused by certain politicians and not others. Dr Murrison’s argument that politicians on all sides enter politics to make a positive difference for their constituents was matched by his persuasive claims about European defence spending for global security. It was a talk which very much aroused passion among the assembled pupils, who were thoughtful in their questioning and polite in their rebuttals of certain points, and the debates continued long after Dr Murrison had left.

The History Department are very grateful to Dr Murrison for taking time out of his very busy parliamentary and constituency business to come to Warminster School to speak to pupils and for giving them plenty to think about, discuss and debate in the coming weeks and months ahead. No matter what their political persuasions, all who attended agreed that Dr Murrison was an eloquent and passionate speaker whose commitment to doing the best for those he represents cannot be faulted.  

We look forward to welcoming him again in due course to speak to further groups of pupils and engaging them too in ongoing political debate.

Dr Tom Horler-Underwood, Head of Sixth Form & History Teacher