The Caroline Lucas Tapes

Pizza Girl is on holiday this month but we have an exclusive and probing interview by 8-year-old Hermione Fisher-Gate of Guildford Road with our MP Caroline Lucas.

Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas

Are the queues long at the Westminster canteen? Do they have vegan options of the day?
I haven’t spent a great deal of time there so far – the odd rushed coffee! I’m not vegan, but I’m campaigning for meat-free Mondays in all of Parliament’s canteens.  I’m much more likely to snatch a sandwich and eat at my desk.

What is your office like? Does it come furnished?

It’s an older building, so it doesn’t have quite the flash modernity of Portcullis House where many MPs have offices but it’s got more space, so much more practicable.

When you won the election you were seen jumping for joy. Do you think this is correct behaviour for someone of your elevation?
I’m not sure if I was jumping for joy that much as I was pretty exhausted after the campaign and staying up so late – after all, it was around 6am when the result was declared at the count.  But, yes, I was obviously thrilled to have been elected so must, I’m sure, have shown some emotion.

How have you changed anything in Brighton since the election?
In one sense, my election has already changed things locally  – people voting in a Green MP in Brighton has helped to change politics because we are now a credible option for people and we are giving them the chance to vote for a genuinely social justice-led party. I think having a Green MP sends an incredibly powerful message to the wider world that we want to do things differently; for example to the big supermarket chains – that we don’t accept their way of doing things and they need to listen, just as I found when I met Tesco this week over the Lewes Road site, where they want to open another store. They have agreed to ‘review’ the situation.  

Wikipaedia says you are a doctor. How do you find being a doctor and an MP and do you still have a surgery?
I’m a doctor as in a Phd so it’s an academic title not a medical one. Yes, I have surgeries and advice sessions. You can get more info at my website or call my office 01273 201130.

What is your cash for questions policy? Is it based on a sliding scale?
No – sorry, just throw out the MPs who do this sort of thing.

What are your 3 bestest things about West Hill Dials?
1. The lovely mix of small and independent businesses, cafés
restaurants, and bars. It wouldn’t be fair to name any one business!
2. The three public gardens: St Nicholas Church Green Spaces, Montpelier Crescent, and St Ann’s Well Gardens
3. The wonderful architecture – Compton Avenue is especially beautiful

Have you seen Princess Michael of Kent and why does she have a man’s name?
No – not yet as far as I’m aware, and I’m not very expert on the Royal Family, I’m afraid.

Have you moved with your family into the Royal Pavilion yet or do you still live in the bed and breakfast accommodation?
No, but I do have a flat with some great sea views, although a bit ‘oblique’ as I think estate agents like to say!

Do you know why estate agents wear pink?
No – but I know what you mean… I’m hoping in the Spring season we’ll see them in a pastel shade of green.

Do you socialise with Mary Mears?

Mary is Leader of the City Council so I’ve met her at a few official functions and obviously I take my relationship with the city council very seriously if we are to move the city forward.

How are you finding commuting to Parliament every day by bike?

I tend to use the trains. When they work, they are simply the best form of transport available. Of course, the Brighton to London line is incredibly over-stretched and I’m campaigning for more affordable services.

Do you earn more or less being a British parliamentary person than a European parliamentary person?
Westminster MPs earn significantly more than the average person’s salary. But as far as personal salary goes I took a pay cut when I left the European Parliament – Euro MPs earn more.

How are you coping with the restrictions on your expenses?
I’m not sure you are asking the right MP about this one! The serious point, of course, is that a lot of damage was done to people’s trust in the UK democratic process, which is why a genuine electoral reform is needed so urgently – not the half-baked AV system proposed by Nick Clegg, which isn’t even PR.

Do you have a message for our readers?
Yes: thank you so much for electing me. Lots of people have said they’re pleased that people in Brighton have helped to make history – why not get involved?
Thanks, Hermione!

Our thanks to Hermione as well. Next time the sage and onion of Sussex, Adam Trimmingham, talks exclusively to The Whistler.

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