Tuesday 8th July 2014

First meeting today is with Jenny Willot MP, who is possibly the youngest person I have interviewed so far.

She is the Lib Dem MP for Cardiff and a Deputy Government Whip. We talk about Westminster, and once again I hear of the masculine space and how an artwork that reflects the presence of women would be welcomed. Towards the end of our chat, Frank turns up to take me to meet John Bercow, the Speaker.

I really enjoy being with Frank and we talk about anything and everything. I follow him through a series of walkways and corridors and upstairs, passing the Prime Minister’s office and through to the Speaker’s residence.

What a beautiful building. The Speaker is still giving a talk to a group nearby, so Frank shows me around the suite of rooms. Finally we all meet in the corridor and we are welcomed into his office with magnificent views on all sides of the Thames. He has a huge ancient looking table, piled with books and papers. It’s wonderful. The three of us sit together closely and Frank encourages me to talk about the residency.


John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons. Image: UK Parliament/Catherine Bebbington

The Speaker listens. He definitely seems to ‘get it’ and gives me his support and encouragement. As we are finishing up an assistant comes in to announce his next meeting is waiting. I become aware how non-stop the business of winning and influencing people is, it’s another art.

Everyone is at it. I can feel myself being seduced.

Come back on Tuesday 25 October 2016, when Mary meets activist and politician Dame Joan Ruddock…