Trudy Harrison MP
Member of Parliament for Copeland (Conservatives)
We caught up with Trudy Harrison who has recently been elected M.P for Copeland area after Jamie Reed stood down last year. She has since won the election and then the by-election to take up the position.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and family
and where you live?
I was brought up in Seascale and then moved inland to Wasdale at the age of 9. I
started off at Seascale Primary School, before moving to Eskdale School and
finally began my secondary education at Wyndham School in Egremont. My first
part time job was at Holmrook Service Station at the age of 15, before starting
my first full time job at Graham’s Travel in Workington – which I absolutely
loved. I now live in Bootle with my four beautiful daughters, Gabrielle, Savannah,
Francesca, Rosemary and my wonderful husband, Keith.
When did you get into politics and why?
My introduction to politics was as a community activist working with a group of
fellow minded playground mums to help save our village school – that led me to
find a role at Copeland Borough Council where I worked as a regeneration officer
for three years - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I joined the Conservative Party last year.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
When I was younger I had a variety of career aspirations ranging from children’s
nanny, to airhostess to a travel agent, which I can say I did.
Talk us through an average week?
I generally catch an early morning train from Bootle down to Westminster
spending Monday to Thursday in London where I attend debates, speaking
events, and meetings before catching the train to my home village in Bootle on
Thursday evenings. I then spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the
constituency attending visits and events as well as meeting local businesses,
community organisations and constituents.
What do you enjoy doing at weekends and in your spare time?
I really enjoy a few hours at home – it’s such a rare occasion that I do just really
appreciate being at home with my family, having a nice meal, inviting my mum
and dad round and mainly just spending time with my family.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Where do I start – I have an absolutely fantastic team of likeminded, dedicated
staff members who I value enormously for their commitment to effect positive
change in the constituency. I find Parliament an incredibly supportive
environment, and I am just about finding my way around which is a bonus. I also
love being able to have influence over the things that for years, I too have been
completely frustrated about.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges for our area?
I think the greatest challenge is actually realising what we have got, playing to
our strengths, capitalising on the opportunities, and defeating apathy – what I
mean by that is that we have an internationally celebrated landscape, a world
class nuclear and industrial sector and enviable food, farming and drink
businesses - this combined is a recipe for success. But, to truly realise our full
potential we need to join the dots with better infrastructure, have belief in our
own capability and go out there and look for opportunities.
Why did you personally choose to continue living in this area rather than
move away to a city with ‘bigger and better opportunities’?
My roots are firmly in Copeland – I am a born and bred West Cumbrian,
passionate about the area, excited about its potential and I cannot imagine living
What was your first full time job and did you enjoy it?
My first full time job was working as a travel agent at Graham’s Travel in
Workington and I absolutely loved it. Nothing made me happier than meeting a
couple who were looking to book their first holiday. I would sit with them and
understand where they’d really like to go – those were the days before budget
airlines made travel easy and I felt a huge sense of satisfaction knowing that a
young couple would be going on their first holiday together – I even booked a
honeymoon. However, my father, as many west Cumbrian parents advocated,
said ‘there’s no money in that, get yourself to Sellafield’, and so I did.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
I could say delivering my Maiden Speech in the chamber, or being sworn in as
the MP for Copeland, but I think the highlight so far for me was meeting a group
of school children on a tour, I overheard their teacher say ‘look there’s Trudy
Harrison’, so I turned about and chatted with them for quite some time about
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in the work place?
I have had many hilarious moments at work over the years, however one of the
most recent occasions is probably considered more embarrassing, than funny. I
attended a local church memorial service, which was being covered by local
media including TV. As the congregation rose to their feet to sing the National
Anthem, it came to my horrified attention that I was only familiar with the first
verse of the National Anthem – so, when the congregation went onto sing the
second verse, I carried on moving my mouth as not to draw attention to the fact I
did not know the words – for a short time, I was confidently under the
impression I was going to get away with it until a television camera appeared
right in front of my face – I can now assure you, that I have since learnt the