Lady Manners School Sixth Form has welcomed local politicians to debate 'The Syrian Crisis and the UK's Role in the Solution'.
On Wednesday 9 December, the school's Sixth Form Centre was packed with politically aware students to hear the views of five local politicians. Cllr Andy Botham (Labour), Cllr Angus Jenkins (Conservative), Cllr David Lomax (Liberal Democrat), Tilly Ward (UKIP) and Ian Wood (Green Party) locked horns in the debate, which was chaired by Lady Manners School Sixth Formers.
Questions were posed by the school's students and ranged from "How can a vote based on conscience represent a democracy?" to "How do you suggest we tackle Islamophobia in Britain?"; and "Have we chosen a destructive approach to the Syrian situation, to avoid upsetting financially significant countries such as Saudi Arabia?" to "Should there be selection criteria when deciding which refugees to accept into Britain?"
The five politicians brought all sides of the debate into focus, and some surprising areas of agreement. On the subject of air strikes against Syria there was an expected divergence in views but the topic immigration brought the more surprising consistency across all parties. There was an apparent agreement that the UK should be able to accept more than the commonly quoted 10,000 Syrian refugees. In support of this view, Andy Botham stated that: "We have a responsibility for the issues that we cause with our actions". The hearty applause showed that he had captured the feeling of the room.