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Here is the latest in our series of Twenty Questions with members of the Class of 2010…


Damian Collins Commons 2 Damian Collins
was elected MP for Folkestone and Hythe with a majority of 10,122.

1. What is your earliest political memory?
When I was nine, going to the polling station with my mother when she voted in the 1983 general election.

2. Complete the sentence: “I’m a Conservative because… I want to be free."

3. Who is your political hero and why? There are many politicians I admire, including, like most Conservatives, Margaret Thatcher. However, I have always thought Thomas More to be a heroic figure. He tried to use all his intelligence and political skill to reconcile himself and his master, but when there was no way out, put his conscience before his life.

4. When did you decide you wanted to become an MP?  I got involved in politics for the first time during the 1992 election campaign and then at University. But I really decided to stand for parliament after the 2001 general election. I felt that rather than stand back and watch, I had to get involved.

5. What is your reading material of choice? For light relief I am currently reading Steve Turner's excellent book Hard Day's Write about the writing of each of the Lennon/McCartney Beatles songs. I have a reading interest in American politics and am enjoying a copy of Arthur Schlesinger's Thousand Days which was given to me by a friend after the election. Like most of my colleagues, I've enjoyed the entries in the new Times Guide to the House of Commons, and look at ConservativeHome every day. And finally, I am a regular reader to my children of that model of the Big Society – Peppa Pig.

6. Who is your favourite political interviewer/presenter on TV or radio?
It's hard to look beyond Andrew Neil and Eddie Mair.

7. If you could run any government department, which would it be and why? I have been calling for Dungeness in my constituency to be included on the list of preferred sites for a new nuclear power station, so if I was running the Department of Energy, I know what I would do.

8. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? I recently read Thurston Clarke's excellent book The Last Campaign about Robert Kennedy's short and tragic Presidential campaign in 1968. You have to admire his sheer guts, as a politician, and a man.

9. Who would you least want to get stuck with in a House of Commons lift? The lift repair man.

10. If you were in the US, would you be a Republican or a Democrat? Republican.

11. What do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax? Playing with my children; Cooking with Jamie Oliver; Watching Manchester United.

12. What is your favourite book? The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

13. What is your favourite film? The Godfather.

14. What is your favourite music? Oasis, Amy Winehouse, The Kinks and Frank Sinatra.

15. What would be your ideal meal and where would you eat it? Barbecue at home in Elham with family and friends.

16. What is your favourite holiday destination? We are holidaying at home in Kent this year, taking in Port Lympne zoo, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and the beaches at Greatstone, Dymchurch and Folkestone. Sarah and I both love Italy, particularly Venice and Sardinia, where we spent our honeymoon.

17. What do you most want to achieve during your first term in Parliament?
Securing support for a new power station at Dungeness.

18. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about yourself. I was a team captain in Jeremy Paxman's first series asking the questions on University Challenge.

19. Tell us one interesting, unusual or surprising fact about your constituency. Folkestone was the main port for men to go to and from the Western Front during the First World War. It is believed that nine million men passed through the town during the war.

20. Share with us your most amusing story or favourite anecdote from the campaign trail. On the last two days of the campaign we had the glamorous assistance of two observers from the Ukrainian Embassy, who also gallantly helped with the knocking up in Lydd in the final hours.

> Previously: Jason McCartney MP

9 comments for: Damian Collins MP answers ConHome’s Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

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