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Harry Darrall

I had a fantastic time during the day when I was with the Press Association in the House of Commons.

The day began with the competition winners and families meeting in the press café. During that time I met two journalists who wrote for The Herald and I spoke with them about my entry to the competition.  I was then allocated to The Press Association for the rest of the day. Firstly, I had a tour of the Houses of Parliament where I learnt about the history of the building. I was then taken back to the Press Association's office where I learnt about what their daily routine involves.

Following this I had the opportunity to go and sit in with lobby correspondents where the Prime Minister's official spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, answered questions from the press about current events on behalf of the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

At Midday I attended Prime Minister's Questions, where a variety of questions from MPs are asked to David Cameron. I was viewing this from the Press Gallery in the House of Commons. The atmosphere was thriving, with plenty of banter and shouting between the two party leaders. This was a once in a lifetime experience which will never be forgotten.

For the rest of day I observed the journalists putting together their stories to send to various different news agencies all over the country. During the PMQs the journalists record everything that is said and make shorthand notes which will later become their story.

At 4.30pm the winners and families were invited to a reception at the private quarters of John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, along members of the Press and the MPs of the local constituencies of the winners. We had the chance to discuss the competition with Mr Bercow as well as being presented with our certificates and plenty of photographs.

My day at the Houses of Parliament was certainly a day to remember.

Harry Darrall
Welshpool High School, Welshpool, Powys

Joseph Inwood

Cameron troubled by alcohol issues during rowdy PMQs

Alcohol was very much on the agenda this week at Prime Minster's Questions. Ed Miliband took issue with the Government's U-turn on minimum alcohol pricing. "Is there anything the Prime Minister could organise in a brewery?" he asked, to an eruption of mirth from high-spirited Opposition backbenchers. Miliband was a "champagne socialist", said the PM.

More sobering was the latest economic data from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Neither leader landed the knockout blow, but Miliband delivered his lines with more gusto, not for the first time. Cameron's line about Ed being his preferred Labour leader sounded a little complacent, all things considered.

Proceedings began with a reference by Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesborough South and East Cleveland) to the paranoid breakdown amongst some Tory MPs in the wake of the disastrous Eastleigh by-election. He asked if they were looking for an alternative leader. The PM was not amused.

But it didn't end there. Cameron was "overruled" by Theresa May on alcohol pricing, said Miliband. Vince Cable's recent musings on borrowing were brought up as part of a cabinet tension showcase that was not easy listening for the Prime Minister.

Last orders came in the form of a slightly mangled question from the Lib Dems' new Eastleigh face, Mike Thornton, who attacked the Labour leader in a dizzyingly roundabout fashion. Cameron, himself well-acquainted with rambling put-downs, greeted him warmly. He assured him they would "get along fine".

Joseph Inwood
Sale Grammar School, Sale

Tristan Wilson

It was a unique and memorable experience. I would urge anyone with little interest in politics to spend a day treading through the corridors of power at Westminster, to get involved. I reserve a special affection for big cities because of the buzz of activity, and to be within the epicentre of one of the most powerful countries in the world, amongst the politicians who make crucial decisions that affect the lives of millions of people, is an excitement that is surely unmatched in most other professions.

Spending a day with journalists and witnessing the whole process of the day the briefing with the spin doctor, the electric atmosphere at PMQT, and just the feeling of being so close to the heart of the country was a privilege. I learned a great deal about the world of journalism and I would urge anyone who feel they might have a burgeoning interest in politics to enter the competition, to give themselves a chance to win this unique prize.

Tristan Wilson
Royal Grammar School, Guildford


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