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Newark MP Robert Jenrick visits The Suthers School, Fernwood, for question and answer session

Students quizzed their MP on a range of topics — from immigration to his favourite prime minister — during his visit to a secondary school.

Newark MP Robert Jenrick paid a visit to The Suthers School in Fernwood, on Friday (March 22), for a question and answer session.

Around 80 students took part — including Year 10 GCSE citizenship pupils, year eight and nine students considering the subject, and members of the student parliament.

MP Robert Jenrick visited The Suthers School for a question and answer session.
MP Robert Jenrick visited The Suthers School for a question and answer session.

Mr Jenrick said it was a “real honour and pleasure” to come back to the school, which he was involved in the creation of.

The school’s assistant leader and head of citizenship, Emma Adams, said: “It is a brilliant opportunity [for the students].

“We have a massive focus in school on teaching political literacy. This gives them an opportunity to express their opinions.

“They were really excited.”

Among the vast mix of questions, a student asked if the MP preferred current PM Rishi Sunak, or former PM Boris Johnson.

The MP said: “They are such different people. If you wanted to have fun, Boris. If you wanted to get something done, Rishi.”

He compared it to someone he would go to the pub with versus someone he could trust to look after his dog while he was on holiday.

Delving into more political questions, one student questioned Mr Jenrick — who is a former Minister of State for Immigration — on immigration and the Rwanda bill.

He said: “I am in favour of the Rwanda policy, we have got to strengthen our borders.”

He explained that it is “not fair” that people cross the channel illegally and put their lives at risk doing so, and added that he was “not convinced” the Rwanda bill was tough enough to prevent it.

Mr Jenrick also shared his belief that if it was implemented, other countries would be keen to copy it.

Answering a second question on the topic, the MP added his thoughts on legal migration — people coming into the country for work, study or humanitarian reasons.

He said: “We just need rules that work for us.

“We need to balance it with other objectives —such as housing, public services and desirable skills. These are important trade offs.

“At the moment my view is that there are too many people coming in.”

He explained his concerns that the vast influx of over one million people from other cultures in the past year was “hard to integrate”, could make people less united, and put pressure on housing, and that the intake should be slowed down with more emphasis on brining in workers with skills the country needs.

It linked into questions about housing — a department the MP also has previous experience in.

He said: “One of the biggest issues you will face in your lives is affording housing.”

He admitted it would be more difficult for young people to get onto the housing market than it had been for their parents and grandparents, and spoke of rising rent too.

When questioned about council housing, Mr Jenrick said: “I think we probably need to be build more — we have a housing crisis.”

Questions were also raised about the future of the NHS, during which the MP described free healthcare as a “huge privilege” even if it might not be your “dream” healthcare.

He added that the NHS was “very, very expensive” for the government, and with people living longer and more advanced treatments, the cost had increased by 30% in real terms since 2010.

In order for it to be sustainable, he explained, it needed to focus on prevention and encouraging people to live healthy lives.

The service also needs to “embrace technology” as it is currently “unproductive” he added.

In response to a further question about GP and dentist appointments, Mr Jenrick explained that more places had also been made in medical schools to help increase the number of doctors, as well as new training opportunities for dentists.

He said access to GPs in Newark was not good but “not terrible”.

Other questions covered topics including devolution, which the MP spoke in support of, and said some decisions were better made closer to the people they affect; what car he drives — a Range Rover; and his opinion on trans and gay rights.

Mr Jenrick said: “I’ve always voted to extend rights and support people to live their lives.

“Life is short, you should find happiness where you can.”

He added that “there are lines”, including protecting women-only spaces and sports, and ensuring major decisions such as treatments are made fully informed and “in a careful way”.

He also spoke of his role in parliament, the qualities needed of MP’s, gender and class diversity in politics, and advice for anyone aspiring to become a politician.

The MP said: “Get involved, join a political party, and get involved in causes you care about.”

He added that there was not many young people in politics, and parties are “crying out for young people”.

Speaking of his own choice to become a politician, having previously worked as a lawyer, he said: “If you want to change things you ultimately have to step up and put yourself up for election.”

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