LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A wonderful experience thanks to MP Alexander

ON the two lovely sunny days we had (otherwise known as summer 2022), I was lucky enough to be in London for a conducted tour round the Houses of Parliament, specially arranged for me by Alexander Stafford MP and his office, both here in Rother Valley and in London — and what a great experience it was from start to finish!

Even if you don’t have a great interest in politics, all you need is a moderate interest in history, and then you can’t help but be impressed by the grandeur of the building and the scale of the rooms within it.

Having been met in Portcullis House, the first experience is to actually get into the Palace of Westminster itself by walking along an old passageway under the road and the busy London traffic, heading in the direction of the newly-refurbished Clock Tower housing Big Ben.

From there St Stephen’s Hall is like entering a cathedral, and from that point onwards you are surrounded by the history, the artwork, the elaborate carving and the statues, including many of former Prime Ministers.

I was lucky enough to be shown into both the Commons and the Lords and I suppose, like most people who have done the tour, cannot help but comment how they are both much smaller than they appear on TV.

Whilst photos aren’t permitted, nor can you sit down or touch anything, it was still an experience to stand at both Despatch Boxes (both gifted by New Zealand) and know that within the hour, PM’s questions would be taking place.

The Lords is exactly like the Commons in size — but with red seats and lashings of gold leaf, whether around the stone entrance arch or on the elaborate throne and its surroundings from where the Queen’s Speech is delivered.

Wherever you go it is both magnificent and fascinating in equal measure!

I can now say that I have walked across the area where the political correspondents conduct their TV interviews — but sadly I wasn’t asked to give one! Nonetheless, it was a most wonderful experience, culminating in tea on the terrace in the sunshine alongside the Thames, and I must thank Alexander Stafford MP, and his staff, in particular Hector from his London office, who proved an excellent ‘tour guide’.

If any resident of Rother Valley would like to have their own visit to the Houses of Parliament, do get in touch with Alexander Stafford’s office and they will be more than happy to arrange that for you.

Elaine Reynard, Whiston