25 November 2022
Portsmouth High School GDST was delighted to welcome The Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP, to their Politics Society this week.
Mrs Braverman, Conservative MP for Fareham, was educated at a GDST school, Heathfield, where she became Head Girl. Heathfield, merged with Northwood College in 2014 to form Northwood College for Girls, becoming part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST).
She went on to study Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge and gained a Masters in Law from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne and qualified as a New York Attorney.
‘I was so grateful for the care and commitment that I received from staff at school,’ she said.
Directly addressing the pupils from Year 10 to Year 13 who attended her talk she said: ‘You are all so lucky to be in a safe and nurturing school with teachers that really care about you.
‘My parents told me there were no limits to what I could achieve and my school prepared me so well for my interview at Cambridge where I managed to gain a place to read Law.’
Mrs Braverman told the audience of her thoughts about democracy and politics in the UK.
‘I believe in aspirations, service and community. Democracy is a cherished and precious right; the right to free and fair elections today. Always remember the suffragettes who gave you and me the right to vote and cherish that right.’
Mrs Braverman encouraged the audience to join a political party. ‘Politics is very vibrant in this country and has many forms, not just in the front line but behind the scenes too.’
She was asked about her thoughts on transgender rights and said:
‘We must approach the subject with compassion and inclusivity. Everyone should have the freedom to choose who they want to be and how they want to live but these decisions should be made when they are over 18.’
On immigration Mrs Braverman said:
‘People coming to the UK is a very serious concern and it is not extremist or wrong to voice those concerns. We cannot accommodate everyone who wants to live in the UK and we need an ordered and fair process to welcome them.’
She explained the role of the Home Office and on answering a question about whether the Conservative and Labour parties were too similar she said:
‘I am very proud of the Conservative party and all they have achieved over the last few years and the major contributions they have played; from Brexit and Covid-19 to the current crisis in Ukraine. Putin is losing,’ she said.
Asked what her thoughts were on Matt Hancock appearing on ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here,’ she said:
‘It isn’t right for a serving MP to be in the jungle but I have been watching him (occasionally) and it makes good tv.’
Members of the Politics Society said:
‘It was an honour to meet the Home Secretary who discussed a wide range of topics and we are delighted that she had attended a GDST school. Her thoughts on current politics and in-depth responses to questions on immigration and transgender rights were insightful.’
Dr Graham Goodlad, teacher of Politics at Portsmouth High School added: ‘It was so inspiring for our students to meet and hear a female politician, herself the child of immigrant parents, who has had a successful career in politics and has attained high Cabinet rank.’