Q1. Why did you enter politics and what was your previous working background?
I was strong-armed into it by Tory friends who are probably now regretting their decision! They thought I’d make a good local Councillor and that’s what started it. Previously I worked as a broadcaster and journalist, mostly for the BBC, and then I set up a PR and marketing consultancy.
Q2. Was there a defining moment when you knew UKIP was the party for you and what was it?
I knew 100% I’d made the right decision to leave the Conservatives and join UKIP when standing to sing those fabulous British anthems at the end of party conference about four months later. I remember seeking out Chairman Steve Crowther to tell him how wonderful the whole conference had been, how inspired I was by it, and how it felt like ‘coming home.’
Q.3 What are your personal long-range goals and objectives for the next 5 years?
I’m not a great planner and I never think that far ahead! I’m a strong believer in ‘carpe diem’ and it’s served me well in life so far. Right now my focus is on doing the best I can as Deputy Chairman and getting elected as the first UKIP MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham.
Q.4 What would you consider to be your major strengths?
I think I’m very much a ‘people person’ and have good empathy. I’m good at writing and talking. Emotionally I’m pretty resilient which helps, and thankfully I’ve been in politics long enough now to have developed a thicker skin – you need one in this business.
Q.5 What would you consider to be the accomplishments that have given you most satisfaction to date?
Politically, I’d never have dreamt I could be Deputy Chairman of a leading political party and I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to have the role. Personally, it has to be bringing up my daughter almost entirely on my own – that was horrendously tough at times – and founding Lipoedema UK, the national patient charity I’m still heavily involved with.
Q.6 Why should the people of Shrewsbury and Atcham give you their vote in May?
Because no one would work harder than me to make life better for them and the constituencyI love so much – it helped make me the person I am today. Also because this country desperately needs UKIP MPs to shake up that out-of-touch, duplicitous and cosy clique at Westminster and bring real democracy back into British politics.
Q.7 What UKIP policy would you consider to be the one that most resonates with you and why?
It has to be leaving the EU. So much of benefit comes with that. Putting that one aside, it would be taking everyone on minimum wage out of tax altogether. If it’s deemed to be the minimum anyone needs to live on, why on earth should they pay tax? It’s madness.
Q.8 What is your favourite…
Wine? Champagne. It’s the only alcoholic drink I really like and it doesn’t give me a hangover!
Newspaper? Working in PR I read them all online.
Meal? Just one? You must be joking. I’m a real foodie so I couldn’t possibly choose only one. I’d be very miserable if I could never have chocolates again though.
TV Programme? I don’t watch much except news stuff. Right now though I am a little bit hooked on Amazing Wedding Cakes for light entertainment. No, I’m not planning anything! It’s just I love the combination of food and creative art and the designs are absolutely astonishing.
Political interviewer? Andrew Neil. Challenging but fair and with an wry but very attractive sense of humour.
Q.9. What would be your favourite or ideal day off?A long, lazy, sunny Sunday in the garden spent with good friends and family and me cooking.
Q.10 Name 5 politicians, alive or dead, you would have loved to have had dinner with all together and why?
- Elizabeth I Yes, of course she was a politician as well as a Queen! An amazing women who cut it in a man’s world and won respect. And a fellow redhead too. Fabulous.
- John Smith the man who should have been PM instead of Tony Blair. How I wish he had been; I believe Britain, would be better place today if he hadn’t died and I’d very much like to hear his opinions on the Labour party now. We could also share our common love of the Scottish island of Iona, where he’s buried.
- Thomas Morris My great grandfather who stood for Parliament for the Labour party in what was the Oswestry constituency (now North Shropshire) in 1918, 1922 and 1924. He lost each time, but my mum says if I can be anything like him, I’ll be doing a good job, so I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two.
- Winston Churchill because who wouldn’t want to meet the great man? Also, he died just a few days before I was born, so I’d like his perspective on the world I was born into.
- Tim Aker MEP Tim has already been to dinner and he’s great value as a guest. Also, because he’s done such a great job as our Head of Policy, I reckon he deserves to meet Churchill and get the chance to cadge one of his fat cigars. He’d like that, so he gets an honorary place.