has done a little interview with yours truly, as follows:
Jane Griffiths, Labour MP for Reading
East, May 1997 to May 2005
THE House What are you up to now?
I have been working at the European Court
of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France,
since 2007. I was an editor at the BBC
World Service for 13 years before becoming
an MP, so in a way it is my trade. The
Court publishes its judgments in English,
or French, or both, and the judgments are
drafted by lawyers from any of the 47
member countries, so where a judgment
has been written by a lawyer whose first
language is not English it is my job to help
it make sense. It’s fascinating work – and I
can tell you most of what is said by the UK
media about the Court is utter rubbish.
THE House How does it compare to
being an MP?
There’s no comparison. I work office hours,
I do Pilates or go swimming at lunchtime
or have lunch with friends, I have the
evenings to myself for reading, writing, the
cinema (Strasbourg has a great cultural
environment), and most importantly my
life is private. I also like the international,
multi-lingual environment I work in. Being
here makes me realise how insular MPs
mostly are. And I have the opportunity to
speak other languages, which I have always
THE House How did you react to losing
your seat / life after standing-down?
I stood down with some relief. I had been
deselected by Reading Labour Party some
15 months previously, and I enjoyed those
last months as an MP, but by then I was
looking forward to a new phase in my life.
Unlike those who lose their seats, I was
able to prepare to leave Parliament, and in
that I was lucky. It is a pity that for most of
the two terms I served I had to fight against
persecution and bullying from a fellow MP
and some within my local party, but hey,
who said politics was easy?
THE House What do you miss about
Tea in the Pugin Room, the Terrace on
summer evenings, and speaking in the
Chamber. That’s a buzz like no other.
THE House What don’t you miss about
Psychological torture by the Chief Whip. And
I am a morning person, so I don’t miss the
THE House Do you keep in touch with
One or two friends from those days. And I
have made some new friends in politics in
France and the wider Europe.
THE House Did you try/would you like
to come back as an MP?
No, and ABSOLUTELY NOT. Don’t jump into
the same river twice.
Do you still follow politics closely?
Yes, it is in the blood.