Page last updated at 03:03 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Computer game gives taste of life as an MP

Grab from MP for a Week trailer on Youtube
Players will get a taste of the choices faced by MPs

Young people are to get a "virtual taste" of life as an MP, as Parliament launches its own computer game.

Commons Speaker John Bercow is targeting MP for a Week at 11 to 14-year-olds interested in politics.

Players experience the daily life of a backbencher and are scored according to the judgements they make.

The game uses footage of the Commons chamber and interviews with politicians. Mr Bercow said this would help "connect with the public".

The game comes in the wake of the expenses scandal, in which claims by politicians have been heavily criticised.

'Baying pack'

The MPs interviewed, including Lib Dem Lembit Opik, Labour's Natascha Engel, and Conservative Adam Afriyie, will provide advice to players.

Those taking part can choose which parts of speeches to use in Commons debates, use the computer's mouse to get the Speaker's attention and "face a baying pack of journalists".

Players are scored according to the judgements they make and the likely effect on their party, reputation or constituency.

Mr Bercow said: "It's vital that young people understand the role of Parliament and the work of MPs.

"Parliament has a duty, which should also be a pleasure, to connect with the public and MP for a Week is an innovative way for students to explore our democracy."

Tom O'Leary, head of Parliament's education service, said: "MP for a Week gives students an understanding of how Parliament works in a way that hasn't been attempted before - by letting players experience life on the back benches.

"By learning through play, we hope students will find the political process interesting and more meaningful to them."

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