Julia, Dear Boy Welcome To Westminster



Julia Langdon chats to distinguished Parliamentarians - including the former Speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd, as well as ex cabinet ministers Kenneth Clarke and Jack Straw - as she looks back at the changes in Westminster during her 40 Years as a Lobby Correspondent, the pinnacle of Parliamentary reporting.

Veteran political columnist Ian Aitken discusses the demise of the drinking culture around Annie's Bar, where MPs and journalists swapped information in "an Exchange And Mart" to further their own careers.

Labour Baroness Betty Boothroyd reveals her anger at suggestions by Ed Miliband that the Lords might be replaced by an elected Upper Chamber.

Sir George Young, former Conservative Chief Whip, claims "this is the most rebellious Parliament since the War. The Tory party used to march together towards the sound of gunfire and that instinctive loyalty has gone. Certainly in my party."

Jack Straw talks of his regret at some of the modernisation brought in under the Blair administration, and criticises all three main party leaders for not increasing MPs salaries.

Ken Clarke recalls how his intake of Tory MPs drank beer with their Labour opponents in The House of Commons' Strangers Bar, which had historically been held so firmly by the Left that it had been dubbed The Kremlin Bar.

Baroness Williams says her mother Vera Brittain would have been pleased with the changes in opportunities for women in Parliament.

Other interviewees include former Clerk of the House of Commons Lord Robert Rodgers, Rachel Sylvester of The Times, Baroness Lynda Chalker and Lord Peter Snape.

Producer: David Morley

A Bite Media production for BBC Radio 4.