Member of Parliament for South East Cambridgeshire, Lucy Frazer, welcomed 24 local secondary school pupils to the historic Cambridge Union to develop their oratory skills.

The workshop is the launchpad for Ms Frazer’s annual parliamentary debating competition, which she created nine years ago when she was a parliamentary candidate.

The day’s activities were run by Debate Mate, who are an educational charity that seeks to improve social mobility by helping pupils to develop vital communication skills.

Sessions included teaching on ‘how to make arguments and speak with confidence’, ‘how to build a persuasive case’ and ‘how to respond to arguments’.

The programme was also sponsored by Marshall Aerospace.

The pupils invited for the workshop this year were all from schools based in Ms Frazer’s constituency. They included: Ely College, Bottisham Village College, Soham Village College, Witchford Village College, and Linton Village College.

Following the workshop, participating schools will enter the first round of the competition itself. Each school will select eight students to take part in a full intra-school debate, which will each be chaired by Ms Frazer in the coming months.

Two debaters from each school will then be chosen to progress to the final round of the competition, which will be an all-schools debate hosted in the Palace of Westminster in Spring 2024.

Ms Frazer said: “I run a parliamentary debating competition to give pupils a chance to develop their communication skills, problem solving abilities, and innovative thinking, which are vital for both the workplace and everyday life.

“I am grateful to Debate Mate for running the session and Marshall Aerospace in my constituency for providing the financial support to make the programme possible.

“I look forward to chairing the upcoming school debates and seeing how many of the pupils have already grown in skill and confidence”.