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Rock music and heavy metal. It’s not the
first thing you’d associate with the Conservative party, I suppose. But music
knows no agenda – great music, that is; I guess I think that Joni Mitchell
types might well have voted Labour.

Tonight I’m presenting a documentary on
Brian Johnson of AC/DC, one of my all-time heroes and Newcastle’s finest. It’s
called Rock Icon and it’s on Sky Arts
at 8pm. We had brilliant fun filming it in Florida, when I could stop laughing
long enough to get the lines out for the camera. Brian is more of a petrol-head
than Jeremy Clarkson – whose parents live in East Northamptonshire, by the way,
and are proud local Tories.

But perhaps that’s why hard rock appeals to
a certain breed of Conservative. It’s not into navel-gazing; it’s rebellious,
anti-authoritarian, full of strength in both the beats and the lyrics. I know
the Prime Minister is more of a Smiths fan, but he did once tell me that he
actually saw AC/DC during the Back In Black tour when they played Manchester.
Lucky him; it was one of the biggest albums of all time, selling over 50
million copies, and Brian Johnson sings on it. Hard rock and heavy metal are
strong and celebratory. Not that I would dare to knock the Smiths (OK, OK, I would dare to knock the Smiths, even I
am not THAT much of a Cameroon. I mean, ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’? Isn’t
that the most Lib Dem title of all time?)


In fact, our benches are stuffed with
secret Heavy Metallers, like some hard-driving sleeper cell just ready to get
out our air guitars and do some serious banging at any minute. Never mind that
Nadhim Zahawi MP actually played an electronic instrument in the Chamber (his
tie, by mistake) – there are metal heads in the Parliamentary Party who can put
him to shame. The unlikely form of my beloved, respected former Chairman John
Whittindale OBE MP, who belted out ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple at the
all-MP end-of-term karaoke night one Christmas. The Valkyrie of the right Priti
Patel. Mike Weatherly MP is SO METAL that he’s flown on the Iron Maiden jet
piloted by Bruce Dickinson, and won a bet to wear an Iron Maiden shirt in the
House, although decorum demanded that Eddie (the patriotic Maiden skeleton) be
hidden under an ordinary shirt and tie. Iron Maiden and the party of the Iron
Lady – yes, it all makes perfect sense. Tiz Coffey MP is a giant, giant Muse
fan (not metal, but surely very rock – wait ‘til you hear their music in the
zombie blockbuster World War Z).  Steve Baker MP is so utterly metal that I
have seen him in the voting lobbies dressed from head to toe in biker leathers
(it’s only the Chamber bit itself that has a dress code).

Meanwhile,
musicians (although I’m sure they don’t share our party’s politics) are pretty
interested in parliament too. Muse’s Matt Bellamy visited the Chamber during
PMQs with Tiz and I, and stayed for a lengthy Prime Ministerial statement on
foreign affairs afterwards (until we were actually checking our watches). My
rock-est moment was bringing Jimmy Page in with my husband for drinks on the
Terrace and introducing him to my friend Tom Watson MP. He’s a bit of a Clash
fan is Tom. That’s a bit punk for me. AC/DC were around before punk started –
and are still there long after they’ve left. So to hear the story of a working
class hero pulling himself up by his black leather bootstraps, I hope even the
classical fans amongst you will tune in to Rock
Icon: AC/DC’s Brian Johnson
, presented by me, tonight at 8pm on Sky Arts.