First thing

The way they start their day 14. Glenda Jackson MP for Hampstead and Highgate
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Indy Lifestyle Online
My clock radio is always set for 6.30am, though I might change that to 5am if I have to be out of London that day and have an early train to catch. I tend to lie there for a minute or two, though, before getting up. I won't usually have got to bed the night before until about midnight or 12.30am: if the House is in session, I have to be present in the evening for votes, and won't get away until about 10pm. Otherwise, I might have been at an event in my constituency, or campaigning in another part of the country.

The first thing I do is draw back the curtains and close the window, which I have open at night. From my bedroom, I have a lovely view over an open heath. I'm very influenced by the weather at this time of day: if it's a nice day then I like these early mornings, but I don't feel so good when it's bitterly cold outside. I'm certainly more a morning person than an evening person, though; I like the sense of quiet at this time.

I then go downstairs to make coffee, but there might be something I need to read before I start work. Every surface around me in my room seems to be covered with books and papers. In that case, I'll get up a little earlier to make my coffee, and then get back into bed to look at whatever it is. I don't have any breakfast, though; I'm not an eater in the morning.

I do the usual ablutions - I like to bathe every morning - but I spend no more than about 10 minutes over them, and I don't put any make-up on. I dress according to how I'm spending the day: I may be in the House, or I may have a function to attend at some point, or I may be exclusively in my office. Normally, though, I'll be putting on a suit, though during recess I might just be going to check on things in my office, and will just wear jeans or a tracksuit.

My son, Daniel, still lives at home with me. He tends to get up and get ready a bit later than me, but as he's my researcher, he will come into work with me in the car if he's due in at the Commons that day. But we don't talk very much to one another at this time; I'm not a great morning conversationalist. I just listen to the Today programme, and continue listening to it in the car, though when it gets past 9am I will turn over to a pop programme.

I can be leaving for work any time between 7.30am and quarter to nine. Before I go, though, I always wash up, as I hate coming home late at night to a sink full of dirty dishes. I still live south of the river, so it takes me between an hour and an hour and a half to get to Westminster, depending on the traffic and all those other incalculable things.

Generally, I'm aiming to be at my office before 10am. After I've parked the car, I have to remember to go to Boots to get some milk, so that I can make some more coffee as soon as I get into the office. And, when the House of Commons is in session, there are copies of all the newspapers in the reception area, and I may pick one of those up, too, as I come in. But generally, I like to read a newspaper in detail, which I only have time to do later in the day.

My first job is to see if any messages have come in overnight, and unless I'm following up a specific constituency case, I'll then start going through invitations that have been received. On a Wednesday, I may have to be in the chamber for 11am, as during my time as an MP morning sittings of the Commons have been introduced on Wednesdays; on other days, I may have a meeting to go to. But, in this job, the phone can ring, or a letter can be opened, and the whole day can be suddenly changedn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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