Home is…

Hayes. It’s my constituency and I have lived there for 45 years.

Where do you stay in London? 

One of the advantages of being a London MP is that I get to go home every night. I feel for non-London MPs who are separated from their families for three or four days every week, especially those with children.

Last play you saw? 

Which shops do you rely on?

I hate shopping. At best I can do a swift dash into Marks & Spencer for basics.

Bus, taxi or Tube? 

Bus, as I often get lots of usually good-natured banter from constituents.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Solve the housing crisis with the acquisition of every development site standing empty and build the council homes we desperately need. Plus I would force Boris Johnson to do community service cleaning up the city until he has paid off the money he wasted on the Garden Bridge.

Where would you recommend for a first date? 

The South Bank, for a wonderful romantic walk along the Thames, lots of theatre, the BFI, galleries and music plus the variety of food stalls and restaurants — and the fantastic, irresistible book stalls.

Where would you most like to be buried?

I was born in Liverpool, so I’d like my ashes scattered in the Mersey, but if you insist on a burial I wouldn’t mind an ecological burial on Lake Farm, a country park I helped create in Hayes.

Best meal you’ve had?

Rochelle Canteen at the ICA.

If you could buy any building and live there, which would it be?

I wouldn’t want to buy it as it belongs to the people, but my favourite building is William Morris’s Red House in Bexleyheath.

Where do you work out?

Work out!? A brisk walk round my local Barra Hall Park gives me the best exercise and I can enjoy the park that I campaigned to have renovated.

What’s the best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

‘You look like that Labour MP McDonnell. He talks a lot of sense.’

What do you collect?

Pieces of work by the Scouse socialist, working-class sculptor Arthur Dooley. Half a dozen small pieces so that his works are not lost to future generations.

Where do you go to let your hair down? 

Feet up at home with a large Jameson.

What are you up to at the moment for work? 

Preparing Labour for the forthcoming general election, including its next manifesto. And for being in government.

Biggest extravagance? 

Occasional auction buys of arts and crafts goods.

What makes someone a Londoner? 

Choosing to live here. That’s enough.

Who do you call when you want to have fun?

My wife.

Evening Standard 10 October

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