Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Teams from the secondary schools across Hitchin and Harpenden will be pitting their debating skills against each other between 6-8pm on Thursday 20th November, at the Priory School, Bedford Road, Hitchin. Peter Lilley will be chairing this inaugural Hitchin & Harpenden Inter-Schools Debating Competition.

    Peter Lilley explained:  “The idea for a debating competition was suggested by some young people on the annual visit to the House of Commons – when I invite all those approaching 18 on the electoral register to see first-hand how Westminster works. They asked me to help facilitate it and I am delighted that we have had such a great response from the secondary schools in Hitchin and Harpenden

    “As this is the first time, we have tried to keep it as simple as possible. There will be three debates between pairs of schools, which have been chosen by lot, each pair debating a different motion. An all-party team of judges from the local political parties with an independent Chair will assess each team’s eloquence and ability to martial the arguments and thus select a winner. This will inevitably mean a bit of rough justice – as Team A might do better or worse if it were debating against a different school or on a different motion. It certainly won’t provide a definitive test of the ‘best’ team. The main thing is to give pupils the chance to participate in debating and stimulate an interest in public affairs, as well as providing an enjoyable event for both participants and audience.

    “I am continually impressed by the broad interest in current affairs shown by the young people in Hitchin and Harpenden and I am very much looking forward to a lively evening on Thursday. I hope that parents, friends and family will come along and support these budding orators.”