On Saturday 6 June, Langport enjoyed a stimulating debate on the need for a reformed constitution for the UK. The 4th annual Bagehot Debate, a flagship event of the 2015 Langport Festival, commemorated the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta, with two Barons and two students debating the motion ‘It’s time for a new Magna Carta’.
The Debate was held in Huish Academy’s Sixth Form auditorium, and, as well as the Debate itself, the audience enjoyed a superb Magna Carta exhibition held by Curry Mallet, Somerset’s only Magna Carta village.
The motion was proposed by Lord Tyler (former Liberal Democrat MP, Paul Tyler) and Douglas Stephenson, Huish Academy student. Opposing the motion was Lord Norton of Louth (Conservative peer and Professor of Politics, Philip Norton) and Sarah Allen, Huish Academy student.
This stellar panel ensured passionate discussion on the pros and cons of a written constitution, and its impact on British politics and society. The audience contributed many challenging comments and questions, which ensured a well-rounded, substantial debate. A show of hands at the end produced a clear majority of the audience against the motion.
Speaking after the Debate, Barry Winetrobe, Chair of the Bagehot Memorial Fund, which organised the Debate, said: “As with our previous debates, we are extremely impressed at the quality of debate, not only from our ‘professional’ guest speakers, but especially from the Academy’s Debating Society, and in the contributions from so many of the audience. We are pleased that our annual Debate can consistently attract such a high calibre of guest speaker, and is a forum for the local community to appreciate the skills and enthusiasm of its Academy’s students. The Langport area can be justly proud that this small community can host such a unique event every year, as part of its successful Festival.”
- The Debate was chaired by Andrew Lee, editor of the Langport Leveller newspaper group.
- Walter Bagehot and the Bagehot Memorial Fund: www.bagehotlangport.co.uk, Facebook and Twitter (@bagehotlangport)
- Bagehot Memorial Fund: Barry Winetrobe: 01458 259 310, [email protected]; David Mears 01458 259700, [email protected]