On Thursday 10th October, Baroness D’Souza, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, came to Oxford Brookes. In some ways, Baroness D’Souza was “coming home”, as earlier in her career, she was a lecturer at Oxford Brookes. The event was organised by Dr Michael Lister, with assistance from the Faculty Marketing team, and chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Anne-Marie Kilday.
Baroness D’Souza gave a presentation to students and staff on the role of the House of Lords in the Parliamentary process. Following this fascinating overview of the House of Lords, including intriguing insights into the way the chamber used to work, compared to contemporary working practices, students had an opportunity to ask questions. These included an analysis of the differences between the US and UK systems of government; what improvements might be made to the functioning of the House of Lords; the differences between her role as Speaker in the House of Lords, and that of the Speaker of the Commons; and what motivates her to participate in public life.
One student present, Jamie Mills, commented ‘I found Speaker D’Souza to be entertaining and stimulating. It was especially pleasing to see her allow such a vast amount of questions which enabled the event to be fluid and engaging. Overall the event was enjoyable and intellectually rewarding. I was very glad I went’. Baroness D’Souza herself thanked Oxford Brookes and the audience for ‘a thoroughly stimulating evening.’