When I go round schools, local children ask me an amazingly wide set of questions, from how much do you earn to what football team do you support? (Notts County)
It’s good to be asked some non-political questions for a change – and so I thought I’d share a little more about myself on the website, in case anyone else is interested. My full biography can be accessed here.
In brief, I live in Surbiton with my wife, Emily, and my young son, John. Going for country walks together or taking John swimming have become my favourite ways of relaxing. John has cerebral palsy so swimming is really important to give him exercise – and fun!
My background before politics was an economist and a management consultant, though my father was a solicitor and both my brothers are lawyers. Yet I didn’t escape the law, as Emily is a housing lawyer, specialising in anti-social behaviour (which keeps me on my marks!) – and her father was Head of the Law Commission.
I was brought up in Nottingham – hence I support Notts County – but came to Surbiton in 1995. We love it here – living near the station and only a 10 minute walk along the bank of the River Thames from Kingston’s vibrant town centre. Emily has a house in Dorset near her parents from before we were married. She continues to be very active in the community there and is once again standing for Parliament for the North Dorset seat, as she’s a politician in her own right.
However, I never planned a career as a politician – I toyed with ideas like journalism and studying to become an agricultural economist to work in developing countries. My strong views on the environment were probably what pushed me towards becoming politically active, and joining the Liberal Democrats. I joined the party in 1989, when our poll rating was just 4% so I’m certainly not a career politician.
As for likes – a great breakfast for me could be freshly ground coffee and figs with honeyed greek yogurt, my eclectic music taste ranges from Coldplay to Genesis, via Gregorian Chant and the Soweto String Quartet while I can happily watch repeat after repeat of Monty Python, the West Wing and When the Boat Comes In. Plus my cats, Molly and Max. Overall you can see I won’t ever pass off as “trendy”!
Of course, if you want to ask me a question – or need my help – the best way is to come to one of my twice weekly advice surgeries – details elsewhere on this site. Failing that, write or email! I look forward to hearing from you.