Hansard Scholar Andrew Sauthoff ’15 Asks the Right Question
Location: House of Commons
In November, Bercow announced the creation of a Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy in a lecture to the Hansard Society in the House of Commons. Following this announcement, Bercow—a co-president of the Hansard Society—invited the Scholars to meet with him after the event. During the Q&A, Sauthoff asked a question that Lisa George, Director of the Study and Scholars Programme, said, “was widely considered to be one of the best questions from a hugely distinguished group.”
The question “was essentially asking how he felt about the increasing use of technology inside the chamber,” Sauthoff said. “I wanted to know how he felt about MPs on their iPads and iPhones for research and email—whether he sees it as a distraction or a good resource to use.”
Sauthoff noted that Bercow’s response noted that it was unrealistic to ban phones and iPads from the chamber since they have a useful purpose, but added that they need to think of ways to encourage MPs to avoid being on their phones for long periods of time while visible on TV behind the Prime Minister or someone addressing the group.
The Hansard Scholars Programme is a 14-week full-time course (split equally between study and internship) which offers opportunities for students to gain academic and practical knowledge of the British political system and current debates in UK public policy. For more information, visit WC’s Global Education Office page on the program.