Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is the first to admit that five months ago she would have been the perfect target for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new crusade to tackle Britain’s battle with the bulge.
Stepping onto the scales last December, the Conservative life peer was horrified to see her weight top 12st 10lb — her heaviest since being pregnant with her daughter 22 years ago.
Just 5ft 2in tall and with a Body Mass Index of 32.5, there was simply no avoiding the fact that the hips don’t lie.
‘That was my ‘now or never’ moment. I thought: ‘This is not what I want to be,’ ‘ says Baroness Warsi, 49, who in 2007 became the House of Lords’ youngest member at 36.
Read about Lady Warsi’s journey here
“The men and women taking to the streets across the globe under the banner of Black Lives Matter want to be heard. They want to hear an acknowledgement of the mistakes of the past and a genuine commitment to future change. Their ask is no different to the ask many of us have had all our lives.” – Baroness Warsi’s comments on racism for the Times
“David Yelland, Tom Watson, Jo Brand, Vince Cable and I” sounds like the start of a story from an after dinner gig – but they are the esteemed company that I now keep by delivering this lecture, the fifth Leveson Lecture. They have all shrewdly and brilliantly shed light on press reform, and they did it very much in the thoughtful and open-minded spirit of Sir Brian Leveson’s report.
I am very conscious that they are hard acts to follow.
And as I was working on this talk a few days ago, worried whether I should have accepted your invitation to deliver this lecture, I was distracted by another event that was taking place.
No I wasn’t tracking Priti Patel’s plane back from Africa along with thousands of other people. I was watching the Prime Minister and others pay homage at a party to celebrate Paul Dacre’s 25 years at the Daily Mail. I tried to find the words that evening to express my disgust – I could not, so I will simply quote my colleague, Andrew, Lord Cooper:
“The Prime Minister attending the *celebration* of the repulsive Paul Dacre’s 25 years as editor of the disgusting Daily Mail is another depressing sign of the sickness at the heart of UK politics & the Tory Party weakly traipsing towards the edge of a cliff”
Now Either Andrew is very right and brave or that is a spoof twitter account that I have just quoted from.
But their evening was about the past. And tonight is about the future.
I’m really pleased you are all here, I’m really relieved that I am here, in the right
place, giving the right lecture to the right audience.
Because, believe it or not, tonight we have another Hinton Lecture happening right
now a few miles from here. So I had real concerns about whether I was going to be
at the right one.
The Royal Society of Engineering tonight are hosting their flagship annual Hinton
lecture in memory of one Sir Christopher Hinton – I understand there is no
relationship between the two.
They have the former CEO of EDF Energy talking about his life and career.
But tonight ladies and gentlemen you have me – so those of you who are at the
wrong lecture – please do stay.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, the last Archbishop of Canterbury and I sounds like
the start of a very inappropriate joke – but they are in fact the diverse and
esteemed company I now keep by delivering this lecture, the 20th Hinton Lecture
in memory of Nicholas Hinton – a man whom sadly I only knew in name.
I was a newly qualified solicitor in my twenties when Nicholas died. I was idealistic
and passionate about change and believed I could make the world a better place.
Idealism and passion I’m told by those who knew Nick were very much a part of
But we have a few more things in common.
“Be challenging, be authentic, be brave” – Baroness Warsi
Lady Warsi’s interview with BBC World Service Witness History on being the first Muslim in Cabinet – Listen here
Listen to Baroness Warsi, Sir Paul Collier and Roger Scruton discuss belonging and identity