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WUS pupils witness rules broken in final PMQ
June 5, 2024

Pupils Aryan and Edgar from Year 6 experienced democracy in action during a visit to Parliament, where they witnessed  unconventional yet memorable moments at the final Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Reflecting on their experience, they observed MP Craig Mackinlay’s moving return to the House of Commons, a powerful testament to the human spirit amidst adversity. Here, they share their unforgettable experience of the day.

‘On May 22nd, the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) took place in the House of Commons as per the usual schedule at midday.

We were invited to attend to what would turn out to be the final PMQ of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Indeed, a few hours later, the PM would call for a General Election unexpectedly, triggering the dissolution of the Parliament.

During PMQs, Members of Parliament (MPs) have the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister questions on various topics of national importance. It serves as a platform for MPs to hold the government accountable and seek clarifications on policies and decisions. It is an essential part of the democratic process in the United Kingdom, allowing for transparency and scrutiny of the government’s actions.

However, this was no ordinary PMQ because many rules were broken!

MPs applauded MP Craig Mackinlay in an emotional moment as he returned to the House of Commons for the first time since losing his hands and feet to sepsis.

While clapping is not allowed in the Commons, the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said this was an “exception”.

Mackinlay, the MP for South Thanet, revealed that he fell ill in September and turned “a very strange blue” within about 30 minutes. He later woke from an induced coma to find his limbs had turned completely black, before they had to be amputated. He returned to Parliament for the first time since his illness with prosthetic limbs and was welcomed as a bionic MP.

He was also given a special permission to wear sportswear trainers and no jacket to accommodate his artificial feet and hands. It is not permitted for MPs to enter the House of Commons without a jacket and tie for men and proper polishable shoes to show respect for the elected function of MP.

We sat in the visitors’ gallery together with the dozens of NHS workers who helped Mackinlay to survive his ordeal in hospital.

We thought that this was a very moving and influential PMQ, with MP Mackinlay coming back to the Cabinet from his devastating sepsis. He pointed out that he would lobby PM Sunak to implement sepsis recognition systems in the NHS, so other people like him don’t have to suffer the same pain he went through. Following on from this, PM Sunak and leader of the opposition Keir Starmer both said that he was a role model and that the UK should look up to him.’

By Aryan and Edgar



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