To celebrate Parliament Week, I visited three schools in the constituency to answer pupils' questions about parliament, politics and my life as an MP.
Final stop after Abbs Cross Academy and Scotts Primary was Havering Sixth Form, where head teacher, Paul Wakeling, had gathered a group of politically-engaged young people to talk to me about their experiences and ask me questions about politics.
My visit was written up in the Yellow Advertiser.
HORNCHURCH & Upminster MP Julia Lopez was grilled on political issues by students from Havering Sixth Form, during a visit to the Hornchurch college on Friday, November 17th.
The Conservative MP, 33, was quizzed on matters including Brexit, housing, voter apathy and youth engagement in politics.
When asked during the Q&A why the Tories lost on youth votes to Labour, Julia replied: “I am glad that young people have woken up and are exercising their right to vote.
“I want to make being a Conservative in the modern world relevant to young people. The Conservative aspiration of you work hard and do the right thing and you will get on in life is something I believe in.”
A Level Government & Politics student, Nazeema Hamdi,16, said: “It was really interesting hearing how Julia Lopez became an MP. As soon as I turn 18 I want to run for public office, so it was inspiring for me to meet someone quite young who is hoping to make a difference in politics. My ultimate ambition is to be the Prime Minister – although I have very different political views to Julia Lopez, it was great to meet her.”
Julia, when challenged on Brexit, said: “We want a country that is nationally dynamic. We don’t want division. Once a deal is done, we can start a new chapter where we won’t be a member of the EU but we will still have good relations with other countries.”
One student suggested young people should have a say in what they are taught at school, and the current academic curriculum was not so relevant.
Julia responded: “I think we need a discussion on the subjects that the current curriculum provides. Things like money management, what a mortgage is, and generally the management of life are all very important.”
She ended: “Britain has a lot to offer – we need to be more optimistic and lift the gloom because there’s a lot that’s great about our country and the more young people I meet, such as yourselves today, the more positive I feel about that.”