Queens Speech

A day in the life…

Ever wondered how some women fit everything into their busy lives? Us too.

The Queendom’s new “day in the life” feature give us a chance to ask women we know how they juggle everything in their lives.

First up is Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird. Now before you think the Queendom has gone all political, this isn’t about party politics, or Brexit. This is about the woman behind all of that to give you an insight into what her life is like, in her own words.

Get up and go:

In London, I wake up around 6.30am and always try to eat a healthy breakfast because it’s likely to be the one proper meal I’m sure to have all day.

It’s just a ten-minute walk from my hotel to reach the House of Commons. I have an office above the chamber overlooking the rooftops and, until recently, had the full Big Ben chimes every 15 minutes – which meant timing phone calls in between!

An unusual office:

The Commons is steeped in history and, while this gives it its unique identity, some customs (and definitely the dodgy electrics) are in dire need of modernisation.  

By each MP’s coat hook, there’s another hook to hang a sword. Two of my fellow Scottish MPs hang up light sabres!

The chamber is much smaller than it looks on TV. When the chamber’s packed and tensions are running high, the sound comes crashing at you in waves and that’s why you’ll see MPs sometimes lean back listening to speakers built into the seats.

It’s not a place for the faint hearted. As a first-time MP, straight into Shadow Cabinet, it was a very sharp learning curve for me in all sorts of ways. My shadow role prevents me talking unless it’s Scottish Questions or leading on a debate on a Scotland matter, which is frustrating.

Outside chamber, my diary is usually back-to-back meetings, many with Scottish organisations or for constituency-based work.

Some people describe me as a workaholic and my staff joke I’m obsessed with lists. What can I say? I worked in industry and business until 2012 and I like to get things done. That’s why I’m here.

Out of the office:

If I have some spare time I’ll pull my trainers out of my filing cabinet and run along the South Bank. I ran for my country in my younger years and it’s still a good way to unwind and think things through.

After three days in London, it’s great to get back to Fife and catch up with family and my dog, Pip.

I travel by train mostly and it means I get four hours of work done.  Perhaps not so good for my staff when I rock up to the Kirkcaldy office armed with a long ‘to do’ list for constituency work – and a box of biscuits to sweeten the deal. We have so many issues to tackle locally.

I usually try to get to bed around 11pm and fortunately I’m a good sleeper. 

Not a day goes by when I don’t consider what a privilege it is for me – as a female MP, the 481st – to fight the good fight for the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

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