Credo: Constance Briscoe

Judge, 50
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The Independent Online

I believe...

I have no regrets about writing about my childhood in my first book, Ugly [in which Briscoe alleged systematic abuse by her mother and stepfather]. For me to come out and talk about it lifted the lid on a lot of people's lives.

Truth is fundamentally important to me. I was offered pseudonyms [to write her memoir] but it wasn't acceptable. It had to be as it had been.

Society should be meritocratic, but it isn't. Success at the Bar is sometimes based on ability but not always. It has more to do with connections.

Britain is not racist but I do believe colour can hold you back.

Self-belief is the most important factor in my success. As a child, despite what happened to me, I believed in myself.

The Catholic Church has been like a family to me. As a child, I would go to church and speak to God. When Pope John Paul died, I went to Rome and slept in a doorway for three nights, with nuns. I shared a birthday with him.

Catholicism taught me that I was special, that there was a place reserved in heaven for me.

I decided when I was a child that I wouldn't hit my own children, and I never did. They are happy and well balanced.

I am not happy. I am happier, but I still have certain festering issues from my childhood that affect my self image.

When people are in personal turmoil, they need help and they may not be able to ask for it. I go to a hospice once a week and help to make sure that patients are comfortable, their flowers have water.

I do not believe that we are a successful multicultural society. We spend too much time pandering to separatism. All these faith schools, for heaven's sake!

Beyond Ugly by Constance Briscoe (Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99) is out now

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