Citizenship GCSE: How does an MP change the law?

In 2015 Sarah Champion was a relatively new MP and still learning how the House of Commons really works.

After the child abuse scandal in Rotherham, she was determined to strengthen the law on child sexual exploitation by amending the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill.

We follow her as she meets clerks and attends a Bill Committee, as she works through the parliamentary process in her bid to change the law.

She gets to grips with the difficult systems and language of the legal system and learns to use the correct terms to try and get her bill passed.

This short film is from the BBC series, Exploring the House of Commons.This series goes behind the scenes of the House of Commons to explain some of the processes that drive British politics.

NB This series was filmed in 2013 - 2015 and some of the political figures shown no longer hold their positions.

Teacher Notes

GCSE or Scottish National 5:

This could be a very effective way to stimulate a debate about what MPs do in Parliament.

Pupils could consider to what extent Sarah Champion succeeds in her attempt to amend the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill.

You could discuss:

Why is it difficult for Sarah Champion to amend the bill?

Should it be easier for MPs to amend Government bills?

A level or Scottish Higher:

This could be used to introduce the role of MPs, using the following questions:

What is the role of MPs?

Why is it difficult for an MP to amend a bill?

How effective is Parliament in fulfilling its legislative function?

Should it be easier for MPs to amend government bills?

Pupils could make a list of the factors that make it difficult for Sarah Champion to amend the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching classes about Citizenship. It will be suitable for GCSE or A Level, and Scottish National 5 or Higher.

More from Exploring the House of Commons

How do MPs vote in the House of Commons?
What is a Private Members' Bill?
What is Prime Minister's Questions?
Changing Britain's Constitution
Public perceptions of British politicians
Why do MPs rebel?
What is a Government Whip?