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RIchard Harrington 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...

Richard Harrington Commons Richard Harrington was elected MP for Watford with a majority of 1,425.

1. What is your earliest political memory? At the 1974 school mock election, I was the Communist candidate - typical 16-year-old behaviour! I joined the Conservative Party two years later.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe it is only the Conservatives that can provide the environment for the individual to prosper. It is only individuals prospering that will generate an economy large enough to really help those that need it.”

3. Who is your political hero and why? Has to be Churchill, because of his leadership powers, and the ability to unify and motivate people - in modern parlance, the quality to make people believe they can do it.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? Increasing anger from 1997 about the near disappearance of party organisation in seats we had held since 1979. Even by 2005 little had changed. I wanted to have the opportunity in a small way to show that this did not always have to be the case.

5. What is your reading material of choice? Has to be newspapers and magazines - The Telegraph and The Economist. And political biographies I'm afraid.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? Dermot O'Leary - because he appeals to young people.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? Business - to make direct use of 30 years' experience of running small and larger businesses; or DWP - because of the effect its role has on so many people's lives.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Historically, James Keir Hardie; more recently I would say John Reid.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? Eric Pickles and Nicholas Soames - with the three of us in it, it would need a lot of people in the winching party!

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Democrat.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? An evening out with my family in Brighton - my second favourite place in the world (the first begins with 'W' and ends in 'd').

12. What is your favourite book? The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. Out of print, I think, but it shows how advertising shapes all of our lives

13. What is your favourite film? Animal House.

14. What is your favourite music? The Who, Bruce Springsteen.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? Japanese. Eaten in Japan by the fish market in Tokyo.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? Brighton in the UK; USA abroad.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? Do something to actually be a part of implementing our Programme and see its effects improving people's lives in Watford.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I had a market stall when I was 16.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Despite being less than twenty miles from London, it is treated by the party and the Government as part of Eastern Region, which it has absolutely nothing in common with, neither politically, economically or socially. I find this absolutely absurd.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. Many panics, many overreactions, highs and lows. I had a lunch with Clarkson and AA Gill, at the height of 'Cleggmania', Clarkson told anyone who wanted an autograph or a picture, that he would if they could name one LibDem policy. Not one could!

> Previously: Marcus Jones MP


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