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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 19:14 GMT
Party leaders face tough questions
Political leaders are used to tough questioning from opposition parties and the press, but how would they deal with a grilling by 12- and 13-year-old schoolchildren? As part of the School Report News Day, five groups of youngsters endeavoured to find out.

PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

Tony Blair

Students from Tile Hill Wood, Lyng Hall and Hartshill Technology College, in Coventry, have interviewed Tony Blair.

They travelled to London to carry out the interview in Downing Street.

They appeared outside the prime minister's house live on BBC News 24 and described it as a "once in a lifetime experience".

Pardeep, who is 13 years old, described the prime minister as being "very approachable and talkative".

"He is a really, really nice gentleman. He asked everybody loads of questions."

She asked Mr Blair about global warming, and whether he thought children were being forced to grow up too quickly.

She said he answered the questions very honestly.

CONSERVATIVE LEADER, DAVID CAMERON

David Cameron

Pupils from Park House School in Berkshire have interviewed David Cameron.

Global warming and poverty were at the top of the agenda for some of the pupils.

But others wanted to know more personal details, like who cuts the Tory leader's hair.

Bridie, 12, stunned Mr Cameron by asking who would he rather have dinner with - Gordon Brown or Tony Blair.

She followed up with: "If the Conservative Party was to form a boyband, who would be in it?"

Mr Cameron was quick to rule out the possibility on the grounds that "there are no wannabe members of Take That" in his party.

The children were impressed and said Mr Cameron, who they interviewed in his constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire, had answered all their questions.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER, SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL

Sir Menzies Campbell

Villiers High School in Ealing, West London, have interviewed Sir Menzies.

They travelled to BBC Television Centre in London, where they received expert coaching before conducting the interview.

Among the tough questions they asked the 65-year-old Lib Dem leader was: "Are you too old for the job?"

Sir Menzies gave a spirited riposte, saying: "I'm fit, experienced and I have judgement.

"I wouldn't be doing this job if I thought I was too old."

Afterwards, 13-year-old Tehreem said it had been "a privilege to meet someone with such high authority".

"I've never done anything like this before."

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY LEADER, ALEX SALMOND

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond

Two pupils from the Inverness Royal Academy questioned Alex Salmond.

Identical twins Maree and Karen, 13, tried a "good cop, bad cop" interviewing technique on the SNP leader.

They grilled him on subjects including global warming and the size of his carbon footprint.

"He would not stop talking, which was good," School Report news editor Maree said.

"But we would also have liked to have been able to fit more questions into our 15-minute slot."

PLAID CYMRU LEADER, IEUAN WYN JONES

Ieuan Wyn Jones

A group of 13-year-olds from Bishop Hedley School in Merthyr sent e-mails to Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

They asked questions including - "Who is your political hero?" and "what are the main political issues facing Wales?"

Mr Jones said his hero was Nelson Mandela and the major issues facing Wales included health, the environment and a lack of proper housing.

One of the pupils, Emily, said she had not known who Mr Jones was.

"I didn't know who he was before the interview, so I learned something. And I learned about his personality," she said.

Another student, Liam, said he found the interview "very educating".

"I got a real insight into what it was like in Welsh politics."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Pupils' interviews with party leaders



SEE ALSO
School Report News Day - hour by hour
22 Mar 07 |  School Report



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