The Birmingham Yardley MP and Labour leadership candidate answers Prospect's quickfire questions—from her biggest regret to what she's changed her mind about in politicsby Prospect Team / January 21, 2020 / Leave a comment
First news/historical event you can recall?
I remember the miners’ strike. I was only four when it happened, but I remember my parents taking us to rallies and talking about the clashes.
The book you are most embarrassed you never yet read?
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
What’s the one bit of advice you’d give to your younger self?
You’ll regret not keeping up learning a musical instrument and a foreign language.
What is your favourite saying or quotation?
“Aim low and you’ll never be disappointed.”
Where do you want to be buried (or have your ashes scattered)?
In Kings Heath Park in Birmingham. I feel like I went there pretty much every week of my childhood and my children’s childhoods, so it is a fitting place to end up.
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I would spend it making some decent temporary accommodation for my constituents who are homeless. It breaks my heart to tell people I can’t find anywhere for them to live.
The talent you wish you had?
Speaking a foreign language.
What are the best and worst presents you’ve ever received?
Best was my Kindle as it means I can read in bed without annoying my husband, so it was basically the gift of marital harmony.
Worst gift, I think, was a traffic cone one of my brothers had drunkenly stolen and wrapped up for me when I was a teenager.
What have you changed your mind about?
That I could have nothing in common with people from different political parties. I was raised to believe that Tory was a swear word and the Liberals were little better than a waste of space. I believed it was about the people, not the policies—and then I found that many of the people in parliament want the same things as I do, but just think there is another way to get there. I still think they are wrong but I don’t hate them.
What do you most regret?
Not buying bitcoin!
What is the biggest problem of all?
Are things getting better or worse?
Both. I think we are regressing in some things and I feel a backlash against some of the progress we have made, but I still think my kids will grow up with more open minds than we did.
The last piece of music/play/novel/film that brought you to tears?
Robert Webb’s How Not To Be A Boy was the book, when he talks about his mom dying—but I wept like a baby at a Christmas Sky Movies advert where a mom and a daughter watch The Sound of Music across generations. I miss my late mother the most at that time of year.