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A Visit To Remember: Bridport & West Bay Business Chamber At The Houses Of Parliament

A Visit to Remember: Bridport & West Bay Business Chamber at the Houses of Parliament

Bridport & West Bay Business Chamber took a trip to London to visit the Houses of Parliament. President Robert Mühl reports on an eventful day.

“We had a 15 minute walk from the station to our meeting point in Portcullis House. Luckily it wasn’t raining and we all followed Stuart (who knew where he was going!) and arrived in plenty of time to pop our hand bags, jackets purses and belts through the airport like security procedure.

Once through security we gazed in awe at the imposing new building that was Portcullis house. We were met by two of Chris Loder’s aides and were then taken on a quick tour all around Parliament focusing on all the history and heritage of the building and a run-down on how parliament works. I say quick but it had to be, as there was so much to see and absorb. 

A building of living history

To work inside such an old historic building is like working inside a museum. Everywhere we looked were pictures and statues from medieval and Tudor times rubbing shoulders with large bands of security and police men.

People were rushing to and fro busy working while we and other visitors including school parties were being escorted around the building.

Westminster Hall was an incredible space with brass plaques on the floor showing where recently Queen Elizabeth 2 coffin stood. Easily recognisable from the TV coverage. Plaques also told of other notaries who had lain in state there; Winston Churchill being just one.

We were shown the House of Commons chamber, the central lobby. The regally decorated House of Lords chamber and the Royal gallery. all resplendent with their antiquities. One of interesting sights was of the large green bag hanging from Mr Speakers chair where matters for debate were written down and then popped in the bag. Later the bag would be emptied and items considered. Hence the phrase ‘it’s in the bag’

Lunch with West Dorset MP Chris Loder

We were then shown to the ‘Strangers’ dining room marked in gold lettering on a wooden stand. There we were met by Chris Loder who had generously given up his time to lunch with us and answer some questions and let us know what life was like working in such an old traditional manner.

He was charming, frank and witty, showing genuine interest in each business and also in Bridport.

He then gave us invitations to watch the House of Commons sitting.

We all had to hand in bags and phones before we could gain access to the Public Gallery. Once in we were sat on the iconic green seats and watching Mr Speaker take charge of the proceedings. Much more interesting watching and listening in real life than on the tv.

We had to leave before 4pm to catch our train home but it really was a most thoroughly interesting day, our eyes were opened to the splendour of parliament and all its workings.

The icing on the cake!

The icing on the cake though was seeing the Bridport coat of arms in the stained glass windows in St Stephen’s Hall. Bridport was and still is part of the history of parliament.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to parliament.  We have all come away with a greater understanding of how parliament works and why it works in such a traditional way.”

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