VIctoria Sanusi

Brunel alumni MP John McDonnell tells students at Brunel that he is in favour of the (BDS) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement which passed in Brunel on the 23rd October 2014.

MP John McDonnell for Hayes & Harlington paid the university a visit for Q&A session on the 17th February.

When asked about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, he said: “I am absolutely desperate for a peaceful solution with regards to Palestine. Full stop. Absolutely desperate.”

The event was organised by Voting Count’s founder Rachel Farrington in conjunction with Brunel Union of Students’ Assembly Chair, Kerri Prince, and Brunel Labour.

Farrington, also a Politics student at Brunel said that: “We organised it as part of a series of Q&A’s with politicians at Brunel that we hope to continue this year. It follows the great success of the John Randall MP Q&A which he held in November.”

She expressed that ‘this is a platform to get to know local politicians, meet them and scrutinise their opinions.’

Farrington kicked off the session with the first question:  “How do you think the political landscape and the labour party would look today if you won the leadership election 2007?” McDonnell answered with a few short words: “We would be in government.”

He then continued to say that: “We would address issues people are suffering from at the moment: chronic housing crisis, food banks amassing throughout our communities and people working long hours on zero hour contract.”

The 63 year old has been in parliament for 18 years. He attended Brunel University for a Bachelor of Science in Government and Politics and told students that that when graduated, he wanted to be the manager of retail company, The Co Op.

When asked about potential neighbouring MP, Boris Johnson, McDonnell said: “I don’t know the guy. When he was in parliament, any time I had dealings with Boris was when I was on a committee, and he turned up and made a speech and realised he was on the wrong committee and left.”

Farringdon who founded the not-for-profit organisation, Voting Counts in her last year of sixth form said: “The discussion was insightful but remained light enough to engage students. We're lucky enough to have such a politician willing to talk to us who doesn't just toe the party line, someone who has radical views and isn't afraid to express them - something that is often lacking in politics.”