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BBC News Interactive School ReportBBC News Interactive School Report
Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 14:36 GMT
Lib Dem leader quizzed by students
Students from Villiers High School in London interviewed the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, for BBC News School Report

Students taking part in BBC News School Report have put the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the spot.

Seven pupils from Villiers High School in London interviewed Sir Menzies Campbell about his political aspirations and his personal life, at Television Centre on Wednesday 14 March.

Sir Menzies said: "I felt nervous being interviewed as they asked difficult questions."

He joked: "There is a job here at the BBC for them. I'll give them a reference."

Tehreem, 13, said: "It was a privilege to meet someone with such high authority. I've never done anything like this before."
Students from Villiers High School in London interviewed the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, for BBC News School Report
It was a privilege to meet someone with such high authority.
Tehreem, 13

Below are the a couple of highlights from the interview. Watch the videos for the full interview and a behind-the-scenes insight into the students' preparation.

You can also see the interview on School Report Live - the web channel on this website between 0900 and 1600 GMT.

Do you regret anything you did when you were younger?

I regret not working harder at school. I was a bit laid back. Cricket and running occupied a lot of my time.

You were an Olympic runner. Which is more fun - politics or athletics?

It was more fun being a sprinter. But there are different times and different stages in everyone's life. I liked the discipline of running and the excitement of the competition and I enjoyed it if I was lucky enough to be successful.

Have you ever been bullied or been a bully?

I hope I wasn't a bully. I was bullied myself by someone in the same class. I remember not wanting to go to school. There is nothing more damaging than feeling intimidated. It's something that simply should not be tolerated and should be reported.

What is the first thing you would do if you became prime minister?

I would take a deep breath. Then I would put into place the plans we have set out in our manifesto. Global warming is a priority.

If you had not gone into politics, what job would you be doing now?

I was a lawyer so I might have become a judge. That would have been the natural progression. I would have found it challenging resolving problems and I would have enjoyed it.

At 65, are you too old to be the leader of a political party?

I'm fit, experienced and I have judgement. I wouldn't be doing this job if I thought I was too old.

I'm worried about university fees. What are you doing to make it cheaper?

If you lived in Scotland, you wouldn't have to pay tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats believe students should not be subjected to education fees. If this is what you would like, you should elect a Liberal Democrat government.

How would you colleagues describe you?

I hope they would say I'm clear-minded, tolerant, good company and that I provided the kind of leadership they wanted.

My brother suffers from asthma. Global warming is making it worse. What are you doing about this?

Global warming is a big issue. Everyone has to do his or her bit.

I had to change my habits. I used to have a 12-cylinder Jaguar with a 5.3 litre engine which I loved, but I realised I couldn't continue to drive it and talk about global warming, so I gave it away to a museum.

We can all make a contribution by using low-energy light bulbs, turning off the red button on the TV, turning the central heating down and putting on a jumper.

Some countries are improving their standard of living and are consequently using more energy and burning more carbon.

We need to enter into agreements with these countries to try to reduce the impact on global warming, but at the same time allow a degree of flexibility to give these countries a level of development.

Interview tips

After devising their own questions to put to Sir Menzies, students were given some advice on how to phrase them by BBC political journalists Peter Barnes and Ross Hawkins.

BBC political reporter Ross Hawkins helps students prepare to interview Sir Menzies Campbell.
Students role play interviewing "Menzies Campbell" played by BBC political reporter Ross Hawkins.

Raja, 12, said: "I have learned to improve the way I ask questions."

Teacher Karine Waldron said: "Having the chance to meet specialists has really benefited the students. They learned how to phrase questions differently including adding in their own personal experience.

"It was also interesting to compare different styles of political reporting including the 'nice' and the 'nasty'."

The interview was filmed by four of the students, using two cameras, for their School Report News Day bulletin, which will be published on Ealing City Learning Centre's website later today (22 March).

Camera person Sami, 13, said: The trick is to focus on what you're filming, to keep the camera steady and to pan slowly."

Sound person Akash, 12, said: "I was a bit nervous as I was the person nearest to Sir Menzies. I needed to hold the microphone very close in order to capture everything he said clearly."

Students from Villiers High School in London interview CBBC's Dick and Dom.
An impromptu interview with CBBC's Dick and Dom.
Students also conducted an impromptu interview with CBBC's Dick and Dom after spotting them in Television Centre.

In addition, Suraj, 12, recorded a script, which was used on Newsround's bulletin that evening.

Karine said: "The whole School Report project has been a brilliant experience for the students. Their confidence has come on tremendously.

"It would be great if they could be involved in the project next year as consultants, helping Year 7 and 8 students."




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