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Diane Abbott fields questions on Brexit and Boris Johnson from Stoke Newington primary school pupils

PUBLISHED: 11:52 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 09 November 2019

Diane Abbott with the children at Princess May Primary School. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Diane Abbott with the children at Princess May Primary School. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Archant

Children as young as six quizzed Diane Abbott on everything from Boris Johnson to education funding and post-Brexit European travel yesterday afternoon.

Diane Aboott outside Princess May school. Picture: Sarah BurgessDiane Aboott outside Princess May school. Picture: Sarah Burgess

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington prospective parliamentary candidate visited Princess May Primary School in Stoke Newington to meet the outgoing school council.

As part of Parliament Week in schools - a time when children learn more about the UK's democratic processes - Princess May's school council, represented by pupils from Years 2 to 6, prepared an extensive list of topics to throw at Ms Abbott.

One pupil asked about the prospect of Labour winning the general election next month.

She said: "I'm not taking anything for granted; we can't assume that Labour will win. It's unusual to have an election at Christmas, we aren't sure how many people will come out to vote or even open their doors to us.

"You never know, this may affect the result. We are cautiously optimistic but nothing more than that."

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Pupils at the school, which has a highly-deprived catchment area, were more than clued up on Parliament's inner-workings. One school council representative from Hungary asked Ms Abbott: "Will travel be affected when we leave the EU? Will things be difficult for my mum and I to travel to Hungary and back?"

She frankly replied: "I don't think Brexit will affect these things immediately. But it's true that this country will be poorer under Brexit, there'll be less money for schools and travel to Europe more expensive."

Youngsters also told Ms Abbott about how they'd sat in the Houses of Commons and Lords just weeks earlier as part of Parliament Week activities.

"What's it like being the longest-serving Black MP?", one pupil asked Ms Abbott, to which she replied: "It's all gone by so quick. But Labour has always been the party which has stuck up for ordinary people; and it's important to me to still be a part of this.

"I'm especially happy to have been at Hackney for so long."

Another wanted advice on how to get re-elected for the school council: "You've got to talk to people and really understand what their views are. Being an elected representative is about engaging with the community," she said.

When asked what it was like working with Jeremy and Boris, she smiled, but gave nothing away: "They're fine. They're both fine."

Princess May head Kevin Reynolds said: "It was a pleasure to welcome Diane to see the excellent work we are doing at Princess May surrounding reading and enrichment, as well as preparing our children for life in modern Britain".

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