How Britain’s political families are spending Christmas – POLITICO | Daily News Byte

How Britain’s political families are spending Christmas – POLITICO

 | Daily News Byte


LONDON – For some Brits, politics runs in the family. But what do members of the UK’s political dynasty do when the rest of us enter our turkeys? POLITICO profiled key Westminster figures whose family ties mean they won’t be taking a total break from politics and asked them how they’re spending the holiday season.

Victoria Prentice and Tim Boswell

Attorney General Victoria Prentice | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Britain’s Attorney General Victoria Prentice is the daughter of Tim Boswell, a member of the House of Lords and former Conservative MP for Daventry.

He says he never works with children or animals, but Christmas Eve for his family includes a nativity play at a local church featuring a real baby (at least three were to be role-played this year) plus live animals including donkeys, sheep — and dogs. Dressed as sheep. King Herod is usually played by Prentice’s MP predecessor, Tony Baldry.

Christmas Day is at Boswell House, and Prentice will be joined by Ukrainian refugee Vika this year, with mum and dad also visiting. As a farming family, Prentice says it’s “all about the food.” That doesn’t mean politics is off the menu – and Boswell’s three-year-old granddaughter was surprised once she returned from nursery that none of the other children wanted to have a political chat with her. “We recently realized how much my father talks about politics with his granddaughters,” Prentice said.

Rachel and Ellie Reeves

Labor Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and her sister Ellie, who serves as the opposition’s shadow justice minister, are planning to celebrate Christmas together on Boxing Day. “Rachel is a very good cook and will make beef in Stilton and port gravy and Christmas cake,” Ellie reveals, though she admits “there’s no way my kids will eat it because it’s not beige.”

And then comes the critical stuff. “I’ll bring the wine. A lot of it. Then there are the party games for the kids – musical idols, pin the tail on the unicorn and anything else they insist on!” As for a chat about the state of the nation? “I think we all agree that there will definitely be no talk of politics, ” adds Ellie. Rachel agrees: “One year we discussed Brexit on Boxing Day – we won’t do that again!”

Fay and Gwilym Jones

Conservative Whip Fay Jones | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Conservative Whip Fay Jones is the daughter of former Wales Minister Gwilym Jones.

Christmas will be spent with Fay’s brother – although this year, she said, will be strange as the first without her mother, who died earlier this year.

The Cardiff Blues v Newport Dragons rugby match is high on Jones’ agenda for Boxing Day, something Fay says will be “a good laugh”, even if it is “always chilly”. On the 27th, the whole extended family will gather to watch the Welsh Grand National, his uncle running a sweepstakes which the children of the family usually sweep.

“We never stop chatting politics so I’m sure Christmas will be no exception,” says Jones. “My boyfriend and my brother would go out and play cricket while my father gave me ‘sage advice’ from his time in Parliament. In turn, I try to explain to dad that things are a little different now – he didn’t have email or social media in his day.” lucky man

David and Oliver Mundell

Former Conservative Scottish Secretary David Mundell’ and his son Oliver | Jane Barlow/WPA Poole/Getty Images

Oliver, son of former Conservative Scottish Secretary David Mundell, became a member of the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

They spent the festive season together last year so will not spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day together this year. But David says he hopes to start a new tradition after making a Merry Berry Christmas pudding with Oliver’s young daughters.

Christmas traditions include a candlelit carol service at Whamfrey Parish Church on Christmas Eve, in what David describes as a “beautiful glen setting”, and making mince pies to David’s late aunt’s exact recipe. “So the key is plenty of street [the] Aadhar is really fluid,” says David.

For a political chat around the Christmas table? “My mother ran a small hotel for 20 years. Politics, religion or twelve four letter words were her rule! David says we do our best to stick to it whenever we’re all around the dinner table.

Tom and Bill Newton Dunn

Tom Newton Dunn | Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

TalkTV host and executive editor Tom Newton Dunn was spending Christmas at the home of his former MEP father Bill in Richmond.

“Politics rarely comes up,” Tom says, though says this is “not out of order” but because they’re “all happy to have a break from it.”

Instead, says Tom, with three generations of avid Gunners, the debate is usually “fiercely between my father, myself and my two sons as to whether Arsenal need to buy another striker in the January transfer window.”

Nick and Robbie Gibb

Robbie Gibb | Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Long-serving schools minister Nick Gibb is the brother of former Downing Street comms-turned-BBC board member Robbie. The pair were supposed to gather for a meat-free Christmas dinner (Nick is a vegetarian and her husband Michael is a vegan) — but only after Robbie’s family dove into the turkey and all the trimmings for an early-day lunch.

Robbie says the latest Westminster shenanigans are unlikely to feature in the Christmas Day speech. “We don’t discuss politics in the family at the best of times and rarely at Christmas.”


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