Lesson video

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Hello, I'm Mrs. Haynes.

And today I'm going to be teaching you some Citizenship.

so please make sure you're somewhere nice and quiet not too many distractions.

And that you've got everything you need with you a pen or a pencil and some paper to write on.

Okay, let's get started.

So let's just have a look at what we're going to be doing today.

That was our title page.

So this is the second of six lessons that I'm going to be looking at with you.

That look at the nature of the British Constitution and today's focus of our lesson is going to be on this key question.

Should parliamentary procedures be modernised? So if you want to pause just for a moment to make a note of any of those, you might want to do that.

Okay, then, right.

Let's move on, so I'm just going to start by giving you an overview of the things that we're going to do in our lesson today.

So there are four different sections to our lesson today.

We're going to start with an identification of several different traditions at the Palace of Westminster.

Then we're going to have a brief comparison between procedures in Westminster and other parliaments.

And then thirdly, we're going to do just a brief discussion about some of the significance of some of these activities.

And then we're going to end with just some consideration of the future of these activities.

And within that we're going to include a written exam style task.

So just to let you know roughly where we're going with today's lesson.

It's quite nice to have an overview, isn't it? Right, let's take the first one then.

The identification of several traditions at the Palace of Westminster.

We need to break that down a little bit, I think first.

What is a tradition? So parliament has lots of traditional procedures that it follows so I just thought perhaps we ought to make sure we knew what that was you may already do but I'm going to cover it anyway.

A tradition is a custom, a way of doing something that has been passed down through time.

So I was trying to think about something maybe that I had, that was a tradition.

And I know this is a bit odd, but we do have a family tradition whereby on the 25th of December we always open a large tin of sweets all over my mom's head.

Not that it hurts her, just gently.

We just tip on them all over her.

I don't know why, I don't even know when that started.

But that is a bit of a family tradition at our house.

So maybe you have some family traditions, perhaps you have something that you always have a certain meal on a certain day pizza on a Friday.

I've put there as an example.

Anyway, hopefully now you understand what is meant by a tradition or a custom.

So if you want to pause to just make a note of that definition of a tradition that might be a really good idea.

Okay, I'll move on.

So I'm going to show you a clip now.

It's a clip from an "ITN News" reel from 2009 and it shows the state opening of parliament.

And I want you to watch it really carefully and see if you can see at least three traditions that are mentioned.

And if you do, if you've manage to please try and make a note of them.

Here we go.

Okay, so quite a lot in that.

I'm just going to give you a moment there just to jot three down if you can think of three that you saw there.

There's loads more than three.

Okay, so if you're still with me I'm now going to show you some of the ones that I spotted in that clip.

So let's just go through some of these ones that were in that clip.

Some of the traditions.

So first of all, I'm going to start top left the pink box.

The Queen's speech, the "Royal Address" is not actually written by her.

I'm sure you will have heard it was actually written by the government.

And then she just reads it out.

Only the Monarch can call the Houses together.

Some interesting powers, isn't it? The cellars are searched by the Yeoman of the Guard, the beefeaters, the gentleman's in the red, before the state opening.

"And that date back to Guy Fawkes," they said.

The Imperial State crown, so I'm second row now down on the left.

Imperial State crown gets its own coach to go to parliament.

I love that one.

Now the next one along in the middle, on the second row, Black Rod, the Queen's representative bangs on the door of the House of Commons.

We will come back to that one in a moment.

Next one along on the right hand side, second row down, MPs dawdle, which means to walk slowly along the way to the House of Lords.

Third row down, Lord chancellor hands the Queen the speech, but she will have already seen it.


So you wonder why she doesn't already have that on her, but she will have seen it and had a chance to practise it before she has to read out.

But that's just what happens.

Middle box.

There is a Cap of Maintenance and I put a little picture of it there for you a soft red velvet little cap.

There you go.

A Cap of Maintenance.

And then across on the right the Queen owns a Parliamentary Robe.

And it's interesting actually, and as in more recent years the Queen has actually worn less of this traditional finery because it's very heavy including the crown.

It was carried in for her and placed before her.

Bottom row now, no Monarch can enter the House of Commons.

That's an interesting one, we'll return to that.

And then bottom middle, MPs stand while the Lords sit.

'Cause they've gone into their chamber, haven't they? So they haven't got chairs in there but there are members of the Commons.

And then the last one on the right, the Queen talks about my government, even though she will not actually be in the Houses at any other time other than this date opening.

So if you didn't get three or you just wanted to make a note of any of my other ones there, you're very welcome.

So you just have to pause the screen for a moment and make a note of any of those that you wanted to add.

Okay, I'm going to move on.

Four more traditions now that we're going to have a look at.

So remember that you can just pause the screen at any time as we move through these together.

Just to also say that when I get to the end of the four I will also pause to allow you to make sure that you've got a note of them.

I mentioned I would go back to the role of Black Rod.

That was the gentleman that we saw there on that clip banging on the door three times.

So just as the Serjeant at Arms who we mentioned in my last lesson is responsible for ordering the House of Commons.

Black Rod has the same role in the House of Lords.

And in 2017 the first woman was appointed to the post of Lady Usher of the Black Rod.

And she's called Sarah Clarke and we're going to see a clip of her now.

Okay, I just need to say I think I said that that was Sarah in 2017.

It wasn't.

It was in 2019, I'm so sorry for that error there.

Well done if you spotted that, sorry.

We're all human.

So there we go, a little bit more of an insight into the role that there of Black Rod.

Right, now again to have a look at another tradition of parliament.

We're going to look at the fact that when an election has occurred for a new Speaker to be brought to the chair they actually drag the Speaker from their seat on the benches to the Speaker's chair.

And words don't really quite do that justice.

So I thought I would show you another clip, here we go.

Dragged and shoved along his way to the chair there.

Remember I will talk a little bit a bit later on about some of the historical references of why we do some of these things in our parliament.

Two further traditions that I thought you might like to know about of the four that we're covering in this little extra section here.

So first of all the Speakers formally opened their respective Houses each day with a ceremonial procession.

So people walking one after the other.

From their official residence within the Palace to their respective Chambers.

So the Commons or the Lords at the start of business.

So that's every morning.

In the central lobby, which is an area they pass through.

The police inspector there on duty will shout at the top of their voice, "Hats off strangers." There you go.

Another tradition.

And then the second one there on the right hand side the practise of prayers is believed to have started in about 1558 and was common practise by 1567.

The present form of prayers probably dates from the reign of Charles the second.

MPs stand for prayers facing the wall behind them.

It is thought this developed due to the difficulty members would historically have faced of kneeling to pray while wearing their sword.

So another interesting tradition of parliament thought you might like that one.

And I don't think I could talk about the procedures in parliament without just referring to the way in which we vote in the House of Commons.

I'm just going to read for you here, this is from the MPs guide to procedure for voting.

So when you become an MP you'll get a little booklet that tells you how to do some of these things.

And this is from their guide.

So here we go.

The speaker puts the question at the end of a debate.

MPs shout, "Aye" or "No" and the Speaker says, "I think the Ayes or Noes have it." If this judgement is challenged by further sounds of, "No" or, "Aye" the Speaker calls a division saying, "Clear the lobby." The division bell rings and the annunciators display a green bell.

The door keepers lock the exit doors from the lobbies and four tellers, people, are appointed to count the votes one for the Ayes and one for the Noes for each lobby.

Voting is done by walking out of the Commons and through a corridor called the lobby on either side of the chamber where the clerks the four tellers will count you.

So they count you.

So if you walk past them, you are a yes vote or a no vote, Aye being yes.

We looked at that a little bit when we were drawing the House of Commons in my last lesson there was the corridors on either side of the Chamber.

I decided the Speaker's chair Interesting, isn't it? Alright, we move on.

Just to check that you've got some clear notes on this with me now, I'm going to ask you to pause the video to complete this task.

Ensure that you have a list of at least seven traditions of the Palace of Westminster.

Try and make sure that you've include reference to the Black Rod, the State opening of Parliament, the Speaker, prayers, processions and voting.

This should be a list of sentences not just one or two words 'cause it needs to mean something to you when you look back at it.

Try and explain exactly what the tradition is for the seven that you've identified.

And just to remind you we did three initially when we looked at that video together the ITN the longer one at the start.

And then we've had at least four more that I've been talking to you more recently.

Speaker being dragged, et cetera.

And the prayers being said, all right.

So if you would like.

If you haven't got that list yet if you pause the lesson now you can do that.

Okay, so you've come back to me now.

So we'll carry on.

I just thought I'd give you a quick example of a sentence you might have written, it could be something like this.

One tradition in the Palace of Westminster is for MPs to face the wall during the morning prayers.

This is due to the difficulties of kneeling with a sword.

I think perhaps I should have added something like in the past there.

Something like that.

We're going to have a quick comparison between some of the procedures in Westminster and other Parliaments.

Okay, I thought you might like to know where other parliaments around the world follow other different types of traditions.

So I was looking into this and prayers actually being said first thing before the day gets going is fairly common in lots of places.

And here I have an example of, "The prayers "are said in both U.

S chambers it's American ones each morning.

When I was looking at it the Speaker being dragged from their chair actually also happens in Canada and probably a few other places too.

So we're not the only ones that do that.

Iceland has a procession from Reykjavik Cathedral to the parliament chamber when the president of Iceland opens a new parliamentary session.

So again, that's in common with our style of procedure from Buckingham Palace to the House of Westminster.

And this was a slightly different one that I came across, that election day in France always takes place on a Sunday because that was the day when most voters were not expected to be working.

And that probably is steeped in history but it's still the case today.

So just a few there for you to hopefully find interesting.

So let's just have a look at some of the significance some of the reasons perhaps that we haven't already covered behind some of these modern so these different traditions that occur.

At least we're going to look for modern day significance of any of these.

Okay, that was a very short clip.

And I just wanted to insert that there for you all because I just thought you could do with understanding and seeing how different voting might be in some other parliaments.

And that was just a very short clip from the Scottish parliament showing you that on their tables where they sit there's actually a little screen and there's a sort of a tablet effectively on that screen.

They can press a button to say whether they agree yes or no rather than getting up and walking up and down a corridor.

Okay, so we're quite unusual in doing it in that way.

So let's just take some of these things one by one and talk through perhaps why they do it like they do it and see if we quite like the fact that there's still some history behind these.

So let's just talk about Black Rod having that door slammed in his face.

So this is referencing the fact that the Monarch could not enter the House of Commons.

And that's because in the past we have had monarchs who've entered the House of Commons with armed guards with them as well.

Potentially looking to arrest any members of the House of Commons that they didn't particularly agree with the views of.

And a famous example of this was Charles the first before the civil wars.

So because they no longer want the Monarch to be able to have that power to do that.

When Black Rod arrives at the door who represents the power of the Monarch, they shut the door in the face.

So it's just making that point that the House of Commons has a little bit more power these days than it may well have done in the past.

That's a similar idea to why my second one there is on the screen about the fact that they dawdle the House of Commons members dawdle so they walk really slowly.

So it's not as if the Monarchs in the House of Lords and it's just going to snap their fingers and the House of Commons people would all come running at their beck and call.

That's not the case anymore with our style of constitution so they walk slowly to show that, "Yes, they're going to come but they're not in any rush." The next one there, the Yeoman of the Guard checking the cellars.

It's said in the little video clip that we were watching that actually they have to have with them members of the police, the Metropolitan police today to actually do a thorough check to ensure that there's no issue with anything being blown up during the state opening.

So whether we still need the Yeoman of the Guard walking with them, I don't know.

I'll let you decide on that one, whether you quite like it, that we still do that.

The Speaker being dragged from the chair.

Now that's an odd one to try and think of a reason for why they do that, isn't it? So this dates back to the fact that the Speaker was originally the person who was the spokesperson for the House of Commons.

So it was their job to go and tell the King and the Lords who were the second most powerful group of people after the King or Queen, they had to go and tell those people what the House of Commons thought of perhaps their the Monarch and the Lord's proposal or ideas.

And often the news that was brought by that Speaker wasn't exactly what the Monarch wanted to hear.

So Peter Delamere, nice name in 1376 a few dates at you today sorry is the first person that we know to have been the Speaker.

And he was actually put in prison for going and delivering these messages that were not very popular.

And then we have seven speakers who were actually executed or murdered between 1394 and 1535.

So if you go back to that procedure in the House of Commons, if you were asked, "Would you like to be the speaker?" In our history, you might've thought twice about whether you wanted to take on that job.

Hence there's supposed to be this element of reluctance and they are dragged to the chair today.

Quite interesting.

"Hats off strangers." When the procession comes through central lobby people would have worn hats and as a sign of respect.

You would have removed the hat when you saw the authority of the Queen.

Because the mace is carried through in that procession they would be asked to take their hats off.

Not many of us wear hats today.

So whether we still need that one, I don't know.

That's what traditions are all about, isn't it? Our way of voting, so we've seen on that little clip that other parliaments did differently but we do it walking down the corridors and we get this time when speaker announces that it's time to walk through those corridors.

It's definitely a different way of doing things, isn't it? I was lucky enough to actually have a comment from my local MP in my area.

And she became an MP in 2019 so Siobhan Bailey.

And I said to Siobhan Bailey I said, "Were there any parliamentary procedures "or traditions that you took some getting used to "when you first became a member of parliament?" And it was the voting style which she flagged up as being interesting.

She actually sent me a message.

And she said that, "You have these eight minutes.

"Once this bell sounds, you have eight minutes "to get from wherever you are "on the parliamentary estate to the two lobbies "to the two corridors." In her own words, "You have to really leg it.

"Depending on whereabouts you are.

"If you are late" she says, "You're just approaching and you can hear "the speaker shout, lock the doors!" "And then you're not allowed into the lobbies.

"And therefore you can't cast your vote." And she says, "That doesn't go down very well "with the party whips, who were the ones who want "you to vote in line with your party's thinking "on a particular topic." So that was quite interesting.

But on a very positive note about our style of voting, she also said that, "When you are in those "lobbies, the yes or the no side those corridors, "it's actually quite a great opportunity "to be able to talk to perhaps some of the ministers "in the cabinet that you might not get access to "a lot of the time." There's quite a lot of MPs, aren't there? Actually perhaps walking down a corridor with one means you could perhaps raise constituency issues with them in a sort of slightly unofficial kind of way.

So that's interesting, isn't it? That's how parliamentary business can get done and that those moments can be crucial.

And I actually heard that from a different source as well.

So it clearly is something that's happening.

So I don't know, maybe it's a good reason we're doing it in that way just simply for that.

So that things can keep moving on.

I'll let you make your own mind up on that.

And then of course, morning prayers is one as well that we need to consider in a bit more detail.

This is just an article I wanted to bring up to your attention here.

So the "Hindustan Times online" wrote that The National Secular Society has written to the speaker Lindsey Hoyle.

We saw earlier.

Asking for the practise of saying Christian prayers be reviewed." So they want Christian prayers to be fortified whether we should still do that or not.

It also highlighted the 2019 motion backed by MPs from across the political spectrum that called for an end to parliamentary prayers in completion.

And then on the right hand side there, I've got a photograph of the Reverend Tricia Hillas who is the Speaker's Protestant Chaplain.

And also there's actually the Cannon Pat Brown who also offers a Roman Catholic mass for MPs in the Houses of parliament.

And I just put some statistics there for you to just think about 60% of the population of England and Wales identify as Christian in the 2011 audit of that according to the office of National Statistics.

So 60%, so over half.

That means there's large percentage that don't.

And yet we have these Christian prayers every day.

It's what's always been done, it's our tradition started very early we mentioned that before just something for you to think about how you feel about that tradition.

Right, another time for you to do a task.

Now please you're going to pause the video for me to complete this task.

Choose three traditions that you believe would have no value today and explain why you think that.

You should expect to write two sentences for each tradition that you mentioned.

So you're going to find a tradition from the ones that we've looked at earlier today and think to yourself, "I don't think we really need to be doing that one anymore." If you haven't got three, if you can just think of a couple then that's fine 'cause obviously you've felt that the others are still of value and significance today.

So if you would like to pause the lesson now.

Okay, again, to move on.

Well done with that task.

So let's just have a look now at the future of these activities.

And I'm going to include in these written exam style task for you to have a go at.

So, during our lesson so far we've had small pauses where you've done some small tasks writing down some different traditions and giving your opinion on the value perhaps on some of them today.

And I'd like you to now look at this one here.

I'd like you to agree or disagree with the statement.

When the houses of parliament have undergone the current building repairs and refurbishment the old traditions and customs of the past should also be removed from modern procedure.

So you're agreeing or disagreeing with that.

So you should include the following, examples of traditions or customs, a reference to a tradition in a different country to the U.


, just to show that you've got that breadth of knowledge somewhere.

And a reference to where your sources have come from.

So you perhaps might reference the "BBC News" clip that we saw or one of the ones from "The Guardian" that we also saw the little video clips.

So if you feel confident enough to go off and do that on your own now then please go ahead.

If you'd like to stay with me, what I'm going to do now is give you some points for either the agree or disagree side of that argument.

Pause the lesson now.

Okay, let's have a look at some ideas for either side of the argument.

So, we've got agree and disagree points here.

Points to agree or disagree with the statement That the old tradition should be removed from modern procedures.

So we are agreeing that we want them to be removed.


Just going to do this three bullet points with you.

Tradition should, sorry.

Traditions such as Christian prayers facing the wall do not represent our U.


multi-faith population.

And then you could quote the office of National Statistics there, and no one wears swords anymore.

So therefore you might decide that's not a value It's up to you.

And then second bullet point, processions and having hats off strangers being shouted is just wasting time and unnecessary today.

You might decide.

Third point down on the left, searches of the cellars by the Yeoman of the Guard over a 100 years after the.

well over, 100 years after the gunpowder plot is an unnecessary expense.

And that was something that we heard about and would also be found on the U.


parliament website.

On the right hand side there, disagree.

So we're saying, "We don't want to have these traditions "stopped, we want to keep them." Black Rod, having the door slammed reminds us that our democratic system gives the power to the people.

Second point, the Speaker being dragged has a positive modern message about how the power of the Monarchy has been reduced.

Third point, many parliaments across the world celebrate their history by including traditions in their procedures.

It increases tourism as people might be interested to come and see those things, which therefore helps our economy.

So there's just some ideas there for you to get going.

Some points are either side of that argument.

Of course, you could always have a go at writing both sides agree and disagree.

And then give your overall opinion at the end.

So if you feel confident now to go and have a look and see if you could write that up, then do.

What I'm going to do now, is I'm just going to show you an exemplar paragraph.

So if you'd like to see me read through that paragraph then stay with me now.

Okay? Right.

So I'm using something called the PEEL structure which lots of you might be familiar with but I'll go through it as I read it out.

So let me just draw your attention to the fact that there's some bits in pink here, they're also in brackets.

So they are the P-E-E-L of the word PEEL.

So we start off with our point which means our reason, our main element of our answer there.

And then you'll see it goes to another pink section that says explanation.

That's an E.

And then it goes to the next E in brackets example given including evidence to sources.

That's the next E in the word PEEL.

And then further down I have the L, which is the link back to the question in pink.

So as I read out my answer now I'm just going to read the black bits, so not the bits in pink in the brackets.

Just that you get the flow of the paragraph but you can see how I've structured my thinking and writing.

Okay, here we go.

The statement could be said to be incorrect.

As several of the tradition observed in the Palace of Westminster, have a significant messages from our history.

Our system of government that's developed over hundreds of years and the representative democracy we have today, is the result of lots of small steps which removed power from the few and shared it with many.

When Black Rod has the door of the Commons closed before them and the MPs dawdle on their way to the House of Lords during the state opening of parliament, they are demonstrating that the Monarch cannot just walk into the House of Commons because they are now constitutional and not absolute in their power.

Full, absolute, complete power.

The parliament website explains that the MPs dawdling shows that they do not have to jump to obey every command of the Monarch anymore.

So when the Houses of parliament have been refurbished, the old traditions should not be removed from modern procedure.

So I hope that paragraph helps you with how you would put some of those points of agree or disagree into a paragraph there.

So pause now and see if you can go and write your own answer to that question.

Hopefully the structure that I've gone through there will help you and remember, you can always go back and have a look at those other sections as well, by just rewinding the video slightly to have a look.

So, let's just recap all the stuff we've done today, which is loads.

You've done really well.

So we've had four different sections to our lesson.

We've looked at the traditions, we've identified the traditions in the Palace of Westminster.

We've compared them and see if any other parliaments do them and we've found a few.

We also looked at some of the significance and the relevance may be of some of those things that happen.

There's traditions.

And then we finished by considering the future and our opinion as to whether they should remain or not via exam style question.

So loads that's really good.

Well done.

Now, before you completely vanish hopefully you'll have a go at the exit quiz now and I'm certain you'll get five out of five.

So I look forward hopefully with you watching me in my next lesson on Citizenship when we're going to be further considering the British Constitution.

Have a nice day.

Bye for now.