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James Wharton MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010...

James Wharton James Wharton was elected MP for Stockton South with a majority of 332.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Mrs Thatcher’s resignation, I was at school at the time and the head teacher came in and announced it, she was not exactly upset at the news!

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe individuals must be free to make their own choices.”

3. Who is your political hero and why? Ronald Reagan, he communicated what it is to be a Conservative in a way that very few have ever matched.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? I really do not know, sadly I did not have a Damascene moment; there was no single dramatic event that made me decide it was something I wanted to do. I just got involved, campaigned, helped run my local Association and found myself playing an ever more active role.

5. What is your reading material of choice? ConHome, of course (as well as a fair few other political blogs).

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Andrew Neil.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? BIS. Being a North East MP, I can see the huge potential my home region has, and also how it has been held back for years by failing centralised policy.  If we can revive some of the successes of the past, such as the development corporations and enterprise zones, I believe a great deal could be achieved.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Kate Hoey, for standing up for something she believes in despite the ardently held opposing views of so many others in her Party.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? Harriett Harman: do I stand to one side and let her step out first when it stops, or is that applying old fashioned sexist prejudices?

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican (can you be a soft Republican!?)

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Walking - I live not far from the North Yorkshire Moors and it is beautiful there.

12. What is your favourite book? Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs by Lewis Page – yes, it is political and it has an agenda, but it reminds me why I am a Conservative.

13. What is your favourite film? Stand By Me, just because it reminds me of growing up.

14. What is your favourite music? Don’t really mind, I’ll listen to just about anything!

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? It’s not what, or even where, but who with.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? I never really go to the same place twice so it’s hard to say.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? As “the only Tory in the village” in Teesside (indeed in the southern half of the North East), by the next election I would like people in my home area to feel confident that they did the right thing by voting Conservative last time, and even more I would want them to do it again in much greater numbers.  I do not just mean for me, but in neighbouring seats, both those we need to win and those where we have never won before.  If I can make some contribution to showing the people of the North East that the Conservative Party really is for them, just as much as it is for any other part of the country, then I will consider my time in Parliament well spent.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I am the youngest Conservative in the current Parliament, though not the youngest MP.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. It is the second safest Conservative seat in the North East of England (and the home of the friction match!)

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. Posters!  We had more posters in Stockton South than anyone can remember, with about 600 going up in the first 24 hours.  There were so many that the opposition even gave up trying to pull them down.  Predictably this started a poster war, with some people even putting up Labour posters (though they never got anywhere near parity with our display).  By the end of the campaign we had the houses on either side of the Labour MP and two of the neighbours opposite all displaying Conservative signs.

> Previously: Aidan Burley MP


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