‘Remembering those who didn’t vote for me salutary’

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They may have been elected, but politicians should remember not everybody voted for them, according to one of the region’s former MPs.

Elizabeth Peacock, who served as Conservative MP for Batley and Spen for 14 years, told yesterday’s Yorkshire Post Literary Lunch at the Cairn Hotel in Harrogate that realising more people had voted against her than for her was a very salutary lesson.

“You can swim along on the fact you were elected, but you have to know not everyone wants you there,” she said. “My approach was to become more independent – I based what I did on what was best for Batley and Spen. That was my job.”

Yorkshire Lass at the Court of Thatcher, her autobiography, covers her time under the Thatcher and Major governments.

Also speaking was William Ryan, an Irish author previously shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award.

“I worked in a bank in London. I learned accuracy – you had to get things absolutely right – and I learned not to waste words. I also learned not to use ambiguous words. These are all skills I use,” he said.

The third speaker was Christopher Matthew, author of the popular Now We Are Sixty. His latest book, The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Foot and Other Bourgeois Mishaps, is a collection of humorous poems.

“Accidents are always idiotic, often bizarre and often unavoidable,” he said.

“People like nothing better than hearing about other people’s mishaps.”