Yvette Cooper says she once hid from Tony Blair while looking after her young children

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Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (PA Wire)
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (PA Wire)

Labour’s Yvette Cooper has admitted she once hid from Tony Blair while she was looking after her young children on a train.

She got candid reflecting on juggling being a mum while she was a minister under Mr Blair.

The now-shadow home secretary said she “literally hid” from the then prime minister while looking after her young child over fears being seen as a mother would make her appear as not “professional”.

Ms Cooper - who represents the West Yorkshire constituency of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford - had three children after becoming an MP in 1997 at the age of 28.

Speaking to the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, she now said she hit to avoid being spotted with her young child by Mr Blair when he got on the same train as her.

In the interview, she told podcast host Nick Robinson: “There was a real chaos to getting the kids to and fro each week. We would go back every week on a Thursday, or Friday morning, and come back down on a Sunday evening. I would have that sense of ‘I’m trying to pretend I’m a professional’.

“We had this one point where I was on the train - I was aiming to get off at Doncaster - and the whole Tony Blair prime ministerial entourage comes sweeping down the platform and I literally hid.”

She continued: “I thought, ‘I’ve got small kids with me. I can’t pretend to be a professional minister and also deal with the kids.’ So I ducked, literally hid, as they all came down, so nobody would see me as they got on.”

Ms Cooper said she managed to go unnoticed by her boss until her child wondered down the train carriage half-way through its nappy being changed, straight past Mr Blair, his wife Cherie and the rest of the group, much to her embarassment.

She also detailed trying to balance her work as a minister, constituency work as an MP over 150 miles away from London and childcare duties in the early days of the Blair government.

Revealing that she worked on her red boxes, official papers, on weekends instead of weekday evenings in a bid to “balance everything”.

She also said attitudes towards women in politics also being mothers were “a bit mad” in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The MP, who is married to Ed Balls, said: “There was a sense that you should try and not talk about it too much, not admit that you were juggling so many different things”.

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