Business students at Uxbridge College found out more about the role of the UK’s House of Lords in a video-call session with its Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith.

The live Skype Q&A, part of a programme of activities for schools and colleges organised by the Parliamentary Education Centre to raise awareness of the UK parliament’s work, gave the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma students a chance to learn more about topics including the impact of the House of Lords on democracy and the part it plays in legislative process.

They also quizzed Lord McFall on his opinions on a range of subjects including whether he thought the House of Lords should have more power (no!) and if representation was diverse enough (he answered that greater efforts were needed to increase diversity in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, including the number of women, people with disabilities and members from a wider range of social backgrounds).

Suba Dickerson, Head of Business at Uxbridge College, said: “It was a terrific opportunity for Business students to learn more about the ways in which our parliamentary processes impact on our national economy and how this links to the works of its members. A big thank you to Lord McFall for taking the time to talk to our students in this live question and answer session - it was a real eye opener and a great way for them to broaden their horizons.”

As Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall deputises for the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, carrying out various responsibilities in his absence. In particular he presides over business in the Lords’ Chamber from the Woolsack, although unlike in the House of Commons he does not call the House to order as the House of Lords is self-regulating. One of the Speaker’s other roles is participating in an outreach programme to engage the public in the work and role of the Lords, central to which is the Peers in Schools programme, which as a former teacher Lord McFall has a particular interest in.

Lord McFall’s roles in the UK Parliament currently also include chairmanship of committees including the Liaison Committee, Procedure Committee and the Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee.