On his visit to Nonsuch High School on Friday 10th March, Chris Grayling found that politicians can almost never escape scrutiny, as students and teachers posed probing questions to him. As MP for Epsom and Ewell and Secretary of State for Transport, Grayling was able to talk about his work on both local and national levels.
He touched upon a variety of topics, including articles of legislation currently being passed through parliament, as well as what his working week looks like.
Grayling then opened the floor to attentive audience members, who asked a wide range of questions concerning policy areas such as transport and education, constitutional issues, and the glaringly obvious one: Brexit.
He described being on the opposing side to both the prime minister at the time and our current prime minster during the EU referendum as a “strange period”, but described the outcome of the vote as a “seminal moment” for the country. Upon being asked his reasons for campaigning to leave, he said “I do not believe you can have a single currency without a single government” and conveyed his issues with Britain potentially being forced to join the Eurozone.
However, looking past their conflicting stances on Brexit, Grayling has worked closely with Theresa May in her recent months of premiership. Having chaired her campaign, Grayling said “it’s good for our country to have a woman as prime minister”.
Of course, a highly controversial issue of late has been the problems caused by strikes on Southern Rail. As transport secretary, Grayling was questioned over this, to which he replied, “I hope that the worst is now over”. Although he convinced the asker of “no plans for redundancy” across the rail system, he condemned the strikes as “daft”.
Discussing issues closer to home, Grayling described the school system as having “much more autonomy now” and expressed his support for grammar schools. He acknowledged the “huge amount of money spent on school buildings” as a step in the right direction, while simultaneously acknowledging that there is “some scope for expansion” for schools in the Epsom and Sutton area.
Tahreem Khan, Nonsuch High School for Girls.