Clare Short, the former international development secretary, discusses her Catholic upbringing in Birmingham and her father's sense of injustice at Britain's treatment of Ireland.
In this series, Peter Hennessy, the historian of modern Britain, asks senior politicians to reflect on their life and times. Each week, Peter invites his guest to explore their formative influences and experiences, and the impact on their lives of people they have known.
In the final programme of this series, Clare Short, the former International Development Secretary, discusses how her values reflect her Catholic upbringing in Birmingham and her father's sense of injustice at Britain's treatment of Ireland. After university, she joined the civil service, but her policy work at the Home Office prompted her to enter politics instead of continuing to advise others.
She became MP for Birmingham Ladywood in 1983 and courted controversy by criticising Alan Clark, then an employment minister, for being incapable in the Commons, and also by calling for a ban on Page 3 pin-ups. After Labour's 1992 defeat, she was appointed Shadow Minister for Women by John Smith, the Labour Leader, and was instrumental in seeing that Labour adopted more women as parliamentary candidates.
After Tony Blair appointed her to the Cabinet in 1997 as International Development Secretary, she played an important role in establishing the UN's Millennium Development Goals on tackling extreme poverty and achieving basic human rights. However, she later disagreed with Blair over the Iraq war, and after resigning from the Cabinet in May 2003 she criticised the absence of proper debate and democratic process in Blair's government.
Clare Short resigned the Labour whip in 2006 and sat as an independent MP until 2010. She continues to work on global development, including the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the urbanisation of the poor, and humanitarian issues.
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