Students on politics and sociology courses quizzed MP Nick Hurd when he visited Uxbridge College on 11 December.
The Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner spoke to the group of around 70, encouraging them to use their vote and get involved in politics, and took questions for around an hour.
Subjects raised by the students included: the lack of social and cultural diversity in parliament; Britain’s membership of the European Union; the potential threat to the Conservative Party by UKIP; private education; whether Mr Hurd liked David Cameron (he said he did, and thought he was a good Prime Minister); gay marriage (the MP said he backed it personally but as his constituents didn’t he had abstained from the Commons vote on whether it should be legalised); and did Conservatives always wear blue ties (quite often, but it wasn’t a uniform).
The question of whether cannabis and other illegal drugs should be legalised was also raised, prompting the MP to call an impromptu vote in the room, in which the majority came out against legalisation.
A student who asked why he should vote Conservative in next May’s General Election was advised by Mr Hurd to research all the parties and vote for the one he felt represented his own values and opinions the best.
After meeting with the students Mr Hurd said: “I was very impressed by the questions and energy of the audience and I hope that they have left with a better understanding of what a Member of Parliament does.”
Laraine Smith OBE, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “It’s really important to us at Uxbridge College to encourage our students to understand the community they live in and make informed choices about how they want to be represented. Mr Hurd’s talk not only supported the learning of politics students, it was a great opportunity to get the whole group thinking about how they can get more involved in democratic process.”
Mr Hurd, who was elected in 2005 and was minister for civil society between 2010 and 2014, spoke to students as part of a regular programme of visits to the College by external speakers.