The Lord Speaker's year: 2014 in review

17 December 2014

The Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza, acts as an ambassador for the Lords and promotes an outreach programme to engage the public in the work of the House. As the year comes to a close, catch up on some of the highlights from 2014. 

Outreach and engagement

The Lord Speaker presides over business in the chamber, but she also chaired two different debates in the Lords in 2014. In May, the Artemis Urban League debate final saw two teams of secondary school students debating whether there should be a 100% inheritance tax.

In November, the annual Lords chamber event gave over 190 people the chance to have their say from the red benches on democracy in a digital age.

Beyond Westminster

Baroness D'Souza made several outreach visits in 2014 – to Bedford and Cambridge, Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Manchester and Liverpool. As well as speaking about the role and work of the Lords, she also took part in a range of panel discussions and question and answer sessions focusing on issues including:

  • community engagement and social enterprise
  • international development
  • media and communications
  • politics and the arts
  • women's engagement in politics.

Parliament Week 2014 saw the launch of a new video showcasing the aims and objectives of the Lord Speaker's regional visits.

Peers in Schools

There have been 170 visits in 2014, covering all four corners of the UK. Peers from across the House have represented the Lord Speaker in this popular parliamentary engagement outreach programme.

'It really brings politics alive in the classroom and is an excellent scheme - long may it continue!'
Lord Touhig's visit to Hawthorn High School, Cardiff – June 2014

'We expected the visit to excite and engage the students, and it did. We hoped for a brilliant and inspirational speaker and that’s exactly what we got.'
Baroness Grey-Thompson's visit to Unity Academy, Teesside – January 2014

The question and answer session with Lord Jordan was very informative with a good balance of personal experience, humour and knowledge. The students loved it.'
Lord Jordan's visit to Arden Knowle High School, Solihull – March 2014

State visits

Part of the Lord Speaker's role is to represent the Lords at ceremonial occasions, welcoming visiting heads of state.

The Lord Speaker's lecture series

In the first of a new series of occasional lectures, the Lord Speaker welcomed Bill Gates to Parliament to speak about the impact of UK aid and the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Further information

Image: House of Lords 2014

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