Many of you will have visited the Houses of Parliament but not many know it is also possible to visit the European Parliament based in Brussels, Luxembourg, although this may stop when Britain leaves the European Union.
We asked if we could visit the Brussels Parliament many months before the referendum so undoubtedly in our group there will have been people who voted remain and others who voted leave.
On the day we met up at St Pancras International station from where we departed at around 11:00. Two hours latter (14:00 CET) we arrived in Brussels where we were met and escorted to the Parliament building via the Metro.
On arrival we were taken to a conference room where we were met by Dr Syed Kamall one of the eight MEPs who represent London. He gave an informed talk on the role and work of the of the MEPs, before he handing over to our guide who gave a presentation about how the Parliament works and how the MEPs vote in the Chamber by simply pointing a thumb up for “Yes”, a thumb down for “No” or hold a thumb sideways to indicate “not sure”. We visited the Parliamentary Chamber and were able to identify where individual MEPs such as Nigel Farage, Angela Merkel and others sit when the Parliament is in session.
Having toured the Parliament, we then visited the Parlamentarium Museum, about a 4-minute walk away. The Parlamentarium, as well as having several historical items and photographs on display also had a stunning 360 degree cinema and an interactive floor map which takes visitors on a virtual tour around the European Union. There was also a cosy living area where we watched a short film of an environmental activist from Poland, a Slovakian professor and a Finish singer (along with other) describe how they thought the European Union had impacted their lives.
We departed Brussels at around 20:00 CET and were back at St Pancras just after 21:00.
A fascinating, interesting and non-political day out for anyone who voted Remain, Leave or indeed did not vote in the Referendum!