From Henry Kissinger to Chips Channon’s diaries: what MPs are reading over the summer break

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What MPs are reading...  (ES)
What MPs are reading... (ES)

Jeremy Hunt

 (Houses of Parliament)
(Houses of Parliament)

My summer reading list consists of Henry Kissinger’s Leadership, Six Strategies in World Study - one strategy of which is Margaret Thatcher’s, whom he knew well. I’ll also be reading Kevin Rudd’s book on China, the Avoidable War, and the new Peter James book, Picture You Dead.

Andrew Mitchell’s book, Beyond A Fringe: Tales from a Reformed Establishment Lackey, will also be getting a re-read. It is refreshingly honest, entertaining and reflective with the best critique I have read of the Westminster shenanigans which ultimately impact on all of our lives. It is unusual for a memoir in having stories that will make you laugh out loud alongside shocking accounts of how things can go terribly wrong as they did for Mitchell until he ultimately redeemed himself, becoming a distinguished elder statesman in the process.

Jeremy Hunt is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey

Tulip Siddiq

(Lauren Hurley/PA) (PA Archive)
(Lauren Hurley/PA) (PA Archive)

My husband recently got me a book called Chup: Breaking the Silence About India’s Women. He read a review and thought it would be a book that I would be interested in and perhaps relate to on some level. I’ve only read the preface of the book so far, and it looks like the author deals with issues such as rape and poverty alongside the issue of the characteristics that little girls are taught to aspire to such as “caring, nice and compromising”. As a mother of two young children – a boy and a girl – I’m very aware of unconscious bias when it comes to raising my daughter. I’m looking forward to reading and learning from this book over summer.

Tulip Siddiq is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn

Layla Moran

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran (PA) (PA Archive)
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran (PA) (PA Archive)

This summer I’ll be reading You Have Not Yet Been Defeated by Alaa Abd El-Fattah. He is an Egyptian writer, software developer and human rights activist who is currently serving a five year sentence for sharing a Facebook post about rights violations in prison. He is over 100 days into a hunger strike, and his family are greatly concerned about his welfare. I have been putting constant pressure on the government to do everything in their power to ensure his release to the UK. His book is a collection of essays, posts, and interviews, many of which were written in prison. His story of political dissidence is remarkable, and I am looking forward to learning more about him.

I will also be reading Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World, by Laura Spinney. Recommended to me by another member of the APPG on Coronavirus, this book maps the history of the Spanish Flu pandemic and shows how it shaped the modern world. As we slowly emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic it’s vital that we don’t miss the opportunity to learn lessons and prepare for pandemics of the future.

Layla Moran is the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon

Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Archive)
Andrew Mitchell (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Archive)

I will be finishing off the second volume of Chips Channon’s diaries superbly edited by Simon Heffer. It is remarkable how little Parliament had changed between the 1930s and when I arrived in 1987, when there were still senior MPs in the House who had had a good war; the changes since then are immense.

Then I shall continue reading Zero by my colleague and friend Jeremy Hunt which with humility and humanity makes such a frank contribution to improving our NHS . His was the extraordinary achievement of running the NHS for longer than any other Minister - experience he now deploys to good effect as Chair of the health and social care Select Committee.

For balance I’ll be delving into Geoff Hoon’s excellent book See How They Run, lifting the lid on New Labour’s time in office . It’s impossible to have a clear understanding of those years without reading this book, and I’ll be following this with Chris Patten’s Hong Kong diaries.

Away from politicians trying their hands as writers, my wife Sharon and I will both be reading two novels by a serious author, Gill Hornby: Miss Austen and Godmersham Park. I’ll also be first in the queue on September 1 for Robert Harris’s next book Act of Oblivion - which fortunately has nothing to do with the current conservative Leadership competition!

Andrew Mitchell is the Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield and the author of Beyond A Fringe - Tales from a Reformed Establishment Lackey

Andrea Leadsom

(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Media)
(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Media)

Over the summer recess I will be reading The Masters of Rome by Colleen McCulloch which is a fascinating journey through Ancient Rome.

I will also be re-reading my own book Snakes and Ladders in light of the recent political circumstances! It gives an insider’s view of the high stakes world of politics and the highs and lows that I have experienced since becoming elected as an MP in 2010.

Andrea Leadsom is the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire. All profits from the sale of Snakes and Ladders will be donated to early years charities

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