LibLink: Lorely Burt – “Then I went to Holloway”


Yesterday, Lorely Burt was beaten by Sir Malcolm Bruce (some say closely) to the Deputy Leadership of the Parliamentary Party.

A few days ago The House Magazine interviewed her. In the article headlined Wouldn’t it be Lorely?, Lorely explains how her  “imaginative parents” chose her unusual name.

There was another child who was named Lorely and as far as I know there has only ever been two of us. They heard about this other child and thought ‘ooohhh that’s a nice name.’

She makes a number of comments relating to women in politics including the “very chauvinistic environment” in the Commons.

It is tough, you can start asking a question or making a speech and if the opposition party consider that you are going to say something which is critical of them, you may find a wall of noise will hit you.

They will use whatever off-putting tactics they can. It can be very tough.

‘Tough’ is a word she seems to use a lot. She reminds us that she can cope with some very challenging situations herself, having worked in the prison service, rising to become the youngest assistant governor in the country.

I served in a place that rejoiced in the name of Puckleworth Remand Centre.

It served the whole of the south west of England and it was tough. Then I went to Holloway, that was a new prison but even so it was a very tough environment.

On the Deputy Leader contest, she counters the suggestion that she should be concentrating on defending her slender majority in Solihull:

Sometimes you’ve just got to do what is the right thing to do. I think that there will be media benefits, because I will be a much more high-profile media figure, but in addition to that it is important we show to the country what we are as Liberal Democrats and that we have got an element of diversity.

It is important have a woman in the top team. For those reasons it is worth doing.

And also you should remember I turned over 9,400 Conservative majority in 2005 and in 2010 the Conservatives threw everything at the seat and I managed to hold on.

The General Election does not keep her awake at night:

It is important to say there would not have been a recovery without the Liberal Democrats in government. That is hugely important and we have taken some very tough decisions but we are now reaping the rewards.

We could have had a Greek-style collapse and it was a terrible prospect that we faced in this country.

We have to make sure that we explain that we have played our part. For example the jobs we have created – well we haven’t created the jobs, employers and companies have created those jobs – but what we have done is create the economic setting and the playing field for them.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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