Question Time: Lembit Opik

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The Independent Online

Work: Lembit Opik, 43, is the Lib Dem MP for Montgomeryshire and the Daily Sport's new political columnist

Life: Currently single, he has had relationships with the presenter Siân Lloyd and Cheeky Girl Gabriela Irimia

Balance: Hobbies include astronomy, cinema and aviation

Why are you writing for the Sport?

In 2005 the Daily Sport asked me to try writing a political column in an accessible and informal manner. It worked. Now they want me back. They're libertarian and generally positive about people even when others are negative or cynical. I'll cover politics in ordinary human language, and with a smile.

What other journalism do you do?

I write for regional papers like The County Times and Shropshire Star, and specialist magazines such as Flight Training News and do book reviews on mountaineering; also one-off articles on campaigns and events in Parliament. I rarely refuse a request, even in smaller publications. It's a privilege to be asked.

What inspired you to follow a career in politics?

The politics of World War II and the USSR changed my family history forever. I grew up in Northern Ireland during "The Troubles". These intense political events caused me to want to change things in society.

And do you enjoy the media exposure it has given you?

I'm comfortable with it and it increases the reach of my campaigns. Even light entertainment media coverage can help, and it's usually fun.

What was your first break?

In 1975 my English teacher made me defend Iceland in the infamous "Cod War" in a debate because I was "foreign". I won and had my first taste of the elements of media presentation!

Any jobs you'd rather forget about?

I wrote for The Wales on Sunday for a time. I don't want to sound rude, but given the number of people who actually read it, this was probably a poor use of time.

Who in the industry would you most like to work with?

Clive Anderson on telly and Ian Hislop in print.

What is your dream job?

Press officer for Barack Obama or a journalist with exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden. My dream political job is Transport minister. I'd get the trains to run on time and the planes to run on biofuel.