Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    The Hitchin and Harpenden Schools’ debating competition took place in the Palace of Westminster last Thursday (16th March). After a closely-fought competition, Hitchin Boys’ School won the senior competition, while St George’s School won the junior title.


    Six teams in each category (years 10-11 and years 12-13) contested three motions, and were judged on their debating skills by politically-balanced panels of judges. The judges awarded prizes to the teams they considered to have won each debate, and a prize to the overall winners of each age group.


    In the junior category, Sofie Kwiatkowski and Jean-Emmanuel Pesez – year 10 students from St George’s – successfully debated against making voting compulsory to be awarded the overall prize.


    In the senior category, Ethan Gray and Stepan Mysko von Schultze – both in year 12 at Hitchin Boys’ School – skilfully argued in favour of withdrawing the invitation to President Trump.


    Peter said: “Once again the standard was outstanding and the judges had an almost impossible task picking winners.”


    Summing up, Mr Lilley said:


     “I want to thank you all for coming down to Westminster to take part in today’s debating competition. I was extremely impressed by the standard of debate this year. I’m glad that it didn’t fall to me to decide on winners.


     “It is often said in this House that the glory days of debating are behind us. From what I have heard today, they are in fact ahead of us.


     “I want to thank your teachers for bringing you all down here and helping you prepare.


     “I want to thank the judges for the almost impossible task of picking winners, and for the thoughtful and constructive feedback they gave to each of you.


     “And finally I hope that all of you will go out and get involved in politics locally. Read up on what the major political parties believe in, see which you feel best reflects your own beliefs. We’ve had councillors from the three main parties here today – write to them, ask questions, get involved. They’ll be only too happy to put you to work.”


    Please see below for full list of debates:


    Year 10-11

    This House would make voting compulsory.

    For: The Priory (Ethan Macrae and Euan Gilfillan)

    Against: St George’s (Sofie Kwiatkowski and Jean-Emmanuel Pesez)

    (winners: St George’s)


    This House believes that free speech means the right to offend.

    For: Sir John Lawes (Aimee Gorman and Dottie Birss)

    Against: Hitchin Girls (Syra Tayler and Miriam Zeghlache)

    (winners: Sir John Lawes)


    This House believes that we will need to build homes on the Green Belt.

    For: Hitchin Boys (Ethan Parmar)

    Against: St Albans High School for Girls (Amelia Liddell and Elizabeth Pepper) 

    (winners: Hitchin Boys)


    Years 12-13 

    This House believes that ‘safe spaces’ in universities should be abolished.   

    For: St Albans High School for Girls (Niamh MacElvogue and Amelia Smart)

    Against: St George’s (Jovy Macholowe and Alice Dyson) 

    (winners: St George’s)


    This House would allow prisoners to vote. 

    For: Sir John Lawes (Barney Crawford and Chris Rouse)

    Against: Hitchin Girls (Mai-Mai Morley and Lizzie Gull) 

    (winners: Sir John Lawes)


    This House would withdraw the invitation to President Trump. 

    For: Hitchin Boys (Ethan Gray and Stepan Mysko von Schultze)

    Against: Roundwood Park (Evie Sale and Harrison Webb)  

    (winners: Hitchin Boys)