This is the first interview in our People Behind the Policy. We asked a few questions to Ben Howlett, MP for Bath.
Tell us a bit about your political background - when did you initially get involved and what did you do before becoming an MP?
"I first joined the Conservative party in 2004 and became a Councillor in 2007 serving for four years. I then became National Chairman of Conservative Future between 2010 and 2013, before being selected for the Bath constituency. I have also worked alongside the NHS as a Healthcare Consultant.”
Who inspired you to get involved?
“I was inspired to get involved in politics as a result of a campaign to save a local special needs school from closure. I have always aimed to put the needs of the vulnerable first, and this is what I aim to do in my political career.”
Do you ever miss your life before politics? What's the hardest part of the job?
“No, I don’t miss my life before politics - because I try to stay as grounded as possible. The hardest part of the job is working 7 days a week on very complex issues. However, the pleasure you gain from a thank you at the end of the process makes it worth it!”
What's it like in Westminster? Do you have a circle of close colleagues?
“Totally different since Brexit, Parliament has become a lot more interesting. The whole of the political process has been turned upside down and I. and my colleagues, am working very hard to put the interests of the whole country at the forefront of my work.”
What kind of things do you like to get up to in your downtime? Do you get any downtime?!
“I like running, I’m currently in training for the Bath Half Marathon in March, I also enjoy cooking, watching the mighty Bath Rugby team and going to the gym.”
What's the best thing you do to help people get involved in politics?
“I am sitting on the National Citizen Service Bill Committee and am a strong advocate for all their great work to engage with young people. I also ran the youth wing of the Party, Conservative Future, where the membership grew from 18,000 to 23,000 during my tenure. This has enabled me to understand the issues of young people across the UK.”
Ben also consistently has interns at his office – our Managing Director Matt Gillow spent some time with him last year!
Death row - last meal?
Roast beef dinner.
Best Prime Minister of all time?
Benjamin Disraeli, Founder of One Nation Conservatism.
Labour MP you most admire?
Hilary Benn – because he spoke inspirationally in the Syria debate.
Hard Brexit or soft Brexit?
A Brexit that is in the interests of both the people of Bath and the people of Britain.
Where do you want to be in ten years?
Continuing to serve the people of Bath.
So we'll do this again in 5 years?
I very much hope so!
Thank you for taking the time to interview me, it is very important to ensure the voices of young people are heard – keep up the good work!