UpRising visit to Parliament

UpRising visit to Parliament

May 23, 2019


9th May, 2019 saw UpRising participants from the ‘Environmental Leadership Programme’ meet for a day of learning, discussion and inspiration at the Houses of Parliament in London. UpRising were represented by members of the programme from Birmingham, Cardiff, London and Manchester.

After a long journey from Manchester we approached Westminster; the home of governance, legislation and professional bickering. After meeting with the other UpRising groups, we made our way through Westminster Hall and took our places in the designated committee room.

Soon after we were introduced to the first panel which included speakers from; The Environment Agency, DEFRA, HMRC and the DWP.

The panel members come from differing backgrounds, growing up at opposite ends of the country or even another country entirely but share in the same passion and determination for achieving their goals. The wealth and diversity of their experiences working in and around politics led to interesting discussion and granted unique insight for those looking to enter the formidable world of politics.

In particular, it was refreshing to hear from a panel of young professional women share their stories of how and why they looked to work in politics. The Civil Servants were also able to offer valuable advice about pathways into the civil service as they had gone through the fast-track scheme themselves, which a few UpRisers’ took advantage of and asked questions surrounding the application process.

The resounding message from the panel was to be proactive, clear and direct. The enthusiasm from the panel was undeniable, conversation was optimistic and it left the room feeling inspired and better equipped to pursue a personal goal or challenge ahead.

After a short break, the ‘Environmental Policy Discussion’ panel began with;

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, co-founder of UpRising

Stephen Doughty, MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, served as Shadow Trade and Industry Minister

Both speakers introduced themselves, spoke of their backgrounds and touched on the journey which led them to the position they are in today. Rushanara and Stephen are at the front-line of UK politics, they are seasoned veterans representing the Labour Party in the Westminster battles.  

Rushanara has been a Labour MP since 2010 when she became one of the first three Muslim women elected to the House of Commons. She is of Bangladeshi heritage; a country that is facing a potential climate and humanitarian catastrophe with rising sea levels. Rushanara was keen to highlight the issues faced by the citizens of Bangladesh and how it remains relevant to her everyday operations.

Stephen was first elected as an MP in 2012 and much like Rushanara has taken on various other roles in party groups, committees and policy advising. He shared in the same passion and determination expressed by the other panel members as well as speaking on the importance of relationships between an MP and the constituents they are elected to represent. Stephen urged us to write to our MPs or to seek them out in person and question them on their actions as it intended in a democratic society.

This was a unique opportunity to hear from and question two people in positions of power and whilst there were time constraints, the insight and advice given was invaluable. Those looking to move and pursue a political role in London left feeling more knowledgeable whilst others will feel encouraged to become more involved in local politics.


Sean Stewart: Manchester 2018/19 Environmental Leadership Programme