Janet Fookes’ winning ways – and they had nothing to do with her red hair!

Last week on t’internet, a toe-curling interview from 1970 (above) was doing the rounds.

It featured a newly elected MP speaking on the BBC election night TV programme.

Nothing unusual about that, except that it was – GASP! – a woman MP!!!!!!!

The behaviour, during and after the appearance of Janet Fookes, of Robin Day and Cliff Michelmore gave whole new meaning to the word “patronising”.

So I thought it would be a good idea to balance things out.

Even though Robin Day only thought Janet Fookes was interesting because she might marry Prime Minister Edward Heath (pwwwaaaahh!!) and Cliff Michelmore was only interested in her “gorgeous red hair”, Janet Fookes, or Baroness Fookes as she now is, went on to have a very distinguished parliamentary career (which still goes on in the House of Lords).

Indeed, she rose to the heights of Madam Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons. In that role, here are a few of her greatest hits – with apologies for the poor quality of the first one. There is no question that Janet Fookes was a skilful and respected Deputy Speaker. And the respect in which she was held had nothing to do with her red hair!:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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3 Comments

  • 1970 was the first time I attended an election count so I missed the start of the BBC election coverage but I recall the presenters laughing about results when they came in, clearly delighted by the Conservative gains. My father, a staunch socialist, said he thought they had been drinking!

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