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Claire Perry 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...

Claire Perry Claire Perry was elected MP for Devizes with a majority of 13,005.

1. What is your earliest political memory? Arguing from the left with my very right wing family.  The result was that I was a socialist by 20 confirming Georges Clemenceau’s theory.  That was before I paid taxes.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I believe in people more than I believe in government".

3. Who is your political hero and why? Honestly I don’t really have one which is what happens when you become political later in life.  If you asked me for a business hero, I could give you 10.  I admire several politicians for different things: including Margaret Thatcher for her conviction, Ken Clarke for his longevity and enthusiasm and David Cameron for his pragmatism, commitment and courtesy.   I am a huge fan of George Osborne’s courage in tackling the deficit – it takes a lot of political balls to carry out these unpopular policies but I am convinced he is right and so are the IMF, Bank of England et al.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP? In May 2009 after two years working for the Shadow Treasury team and after deciding we needed some more “normal women” to get involved front of house.  We can debate whether I am one of them!

5. What is your reading material of choice? Voracious consumer of books – ranging from Red Tory to The Other Boleyn Girl.  Also enjoying re-reading Narnian series to my youngest.   Newspapers only at weekends – Times, Telegraph, FT and Observer.  Websites are Politics Home, FT.com, BBC news, Twitter, ConHome and my children’s school websites for glimpses of them captaining the C team.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio? John Humphrys, but I rather despise the whole cadre at the moment for the constant barrage of negativity.  While they are whinging, we are getting on with it.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? MoD as it is most in need of business thinking.  And I promise that there would be no photos of me in a scarf driving a tank.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? Frank Field, Kate Hoey et al.  Committed to their causes and willing to step out from behind the ideological barricades.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? No nominations I’m afraid – I’m of the belief that I could learn something from everyone here.

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Moderate Republican now.  But I did meet Barack Obama before the election and would probably have voted for him.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Not a lot of either with 3 children, a working husband and a very active Constituency party.  I do get up at dawn and cycle most weekends, go to a great gym when I can and like cooking with the family.  Oh, and we relish a good pub quiz night.

12. What is your favourite book? Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham.

13. What is your favourite film? American Beauty.

14. What is your favourite music? Anything you would play at an 80s disco, I will dance to.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? Shepherd’s Pie, home grown runner beans and apple and blackberry crumble round our kitchen table in Wiltshire.  And everyone would sit up straight, use their knives and offer to do the washing up.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? Anywhere in America.  I fell in love with the landscape in the USA when I was 21 and the love affair is still going strong.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament? A reputation for getting things done.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I used to be a catwalk model as a teenager which was the only thing that got me to stand up straight.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. The second largest town of Marlborough in my patch was the place where the oldest piece of statute law in the United Kingdom that has not yet been repealed was passed – a testament to the law makers of old who made useful and enduring legislation unlike the last government who criminalised so much of ordinary life.  Roll on the Great Repeal Act!

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. I thought I would emulate David Cameron who is good at jumping up on things to make speeches, jumped up on a wall by the duck pond in Urchfont and wrecked my back jumping down.   Oh, and my Chairman now calls bars of chocolate “Claire Perrys” as a testament to the amount of rubbish I ate on the battle bus.

> Previously: Rehman Chishti MP


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