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Baroness Shirley Williams 23 September 2009
Shirley Williams
On her autobiography, 'Climbing the Bookshelves'

"You’re only interested in Hitler not me", Shirley Williams told her parents aged 5, and announced her intention to become a politician aged 13. Her mother was the pacifist and author Vera Brittain and her father George Catlin was a leading political scientist who encouraged his daughter to have high ambitions for herself - including daring to climb the bookshelves in his library. She fought her first General Election at just 24 and was elected as MP for Hitchin in 1964. A member of the Labour Cabinets of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, she left the Labour party after 35 years of membership to co-found the Social Democratic Party as one of the 'Gang of Four'. Despite being dubbed one of the most dangerous women in Britain by elements of both the Left and the Right, Baroness Williams of Crosby (as she became in 1993) is widely admired and respected. As her autobiography, 'Climbing the Bookshelves', is published, Jenni talks to her about her extraordinary life and career in politics.
'Climbing the Bookshelves', by Shirley Williams, is published by Virago, ISBN: 9781844 084760
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