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Breaking News - My haven: Harriet Harman in the kitchen of her London home

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I’ve lived in this Victorian house with my husband Jack Dromey since 1987. The kitchen is the hub of the house and it’s where I work, and where I wrote my latest book.There are welcome distractions, including our two gorgeous Burmilla cats Silvio and Minky. I’ve had cats throughout my life, and these two, who are brother and sister, are self-important and very vain – they think they’re in complete charge of the household.This photo of my mother Anna and me was taken at the Lord Chancellor’s chambers in Westminster when I was made Solicitor General in 2001, a proud moment for both Mum, then 76, and me. My father had already passed away. Mum, who’s now 99, trained as a barrister but gave it up to look after me and my three sisters. She later worked as a solicitor.After I left the Cabinet in 1998 I bought my first cookery book and a whole new world opened up for me. I’m now a slavish fan of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. When my children were small I always made a cake on Fridays, and I’m still a keen baker of banana bread, lemon drizzle and pineapple upside down cakes. I avidly watch Bake Off and if I was invited to go on a celebrity cookery show, I’d absolutely do it.I like to be prepared for meetings, so each night I get the next day’s diary and notes to look over at this table and I use this mug, which reminds me of the 2015 General Election when we sent out a pink bus to encourage women who don’t vote to do so.I was given the mug to take the mickey out of the fuss over it. In this centenary of the first women getting the right to vote, it’s still a big deal.When I started out in politics I was unusual because I was a female MP with young children. I was elected MP for Peckham in a by-election in October 1982 and I had my first baby the following February.A seat had become vacant because an MP had died, and I ended up being clearly pregnant when I first entered the House of Commons. This picture is of me outside a polling station in 1987 when my children, Harry, Joseph and Amy, were young and I was doing my best to juggle being a good mum with being a good MP.A lot of my constituents come from Africa, and I’ve visited Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania and, most recently, Ethiopia. I always bring back something to remind me of people and the places I’ve seen. I picked up this rug from a market in Aksum, in northern Ethiopia.I was visiting a refugee camp last November, on a trip investigating how birth control and women’s rights are progressing there. But the cats thought I was bringing them back a new scratching post!A Woman’s Work by Harriet Harman (Penguin Books, £9.99) is out now.
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