Parliament opened its doors to a group of Carshalton sixth-formers as they toured the houses before meeting their MP, Tom Brake.

Seven girls from St Philomena’s lower-sixth visited the Palace of Westminster, attending a debate on cancer priorities, a workshop on parliamentary elections and a question-and-answer session with the member for Carshalton and Wallington on Thursday, February 13.

Mr Brake was unable to confirm whether the House of Lords reform would be part of the coalition’s programme this year, but said it was less important to him than protecting St Helier Hospital.

Asked for an update on the hospital, the Liberal Democrat said: “It’s like a roller-coaster. As we take two steps forward news from elsewhere sends us one step back. A solution needs to be found by our local GPs, which sadly will be a lengthy and costly process.”

Commending the students for their enthusiasm, he said he hoped to see some of them interning at his office in the summer.