Shropshire Star

Profile: Telford's new MP Lucy Allan bags her seat in the new Parliament

"Welcome mam" - it's not every day you're greeted like this when you walk through the doors at work in a morning.

Lucy Allan

But for Telford's new MP Lucy Allan this is how she is greeted nearly every day by the doorman of the Houses of Parliament.

It's a sharp learning curve when you are a new MP at Westminster and Ms Allan likens the place to Hogwarts, admitting that she still gets hopelessly lost in the maze of corridors and staircases.

A bag welcomes MPs to the new Parliament at Westminster

The new Conservative MP for Telford says she is hugely honoured to be the first woman to represent the town.

She paid tribute to David Wright, the Labour MP she beat to take the seat and she pledged to follow his example in providing representation for Shropshire, adding: "I have a lot of respect for David. I will do my best to keep the people of Telford happy.

"Like I have said many times before, Telford is my new home and I am honoured to be its MP for the next five years."

Ms Allan, who was sworn in last week, admits to one compromise, joking: "I'm a heels woman, but Westminster is so big that I am having to wear flats shoes."

Even though the election was more than two weeks ago, it's still taking a while for her to come to terms with her new role, as she is currently in and out of lectures about how to be an MP.

As well as splitting her time between London and Telford, Ms Allan took time out of her busy schedule of hiring staff and inductions to take the Shropshire Star on a private tour of Westminster.

"The Houses of Parliament is so big I've had to invest in some flat shoes," she joked. "I'm normally a heels girl, but I've learnt quickly that I need flats as it takes me about 10 minutes to walk from my office to the lobby."

Ms Allan is clearly struggling to believe she is an MP. She comes from a Labour family and said she once wrote to Glenda Jackson as an 11-year-old asking for advice in getting into politics.

Although her family remain Labour supporters, she says they are "extremely proud" of her achievement and have been hugely supportive of her on her journey from her first steps in politics to being able host a tour of Westminster as a fully-fledged member.

Before she starts it's time for a quick chat and a cup of tea.

Really pleased to welcome Jamie and Rachel from the Shropshire Star to Westminster today. We watched the Prime Minister getting 'sworn in' - we got a smile and a nod in the gallery. Had a good wander round.

Posted by Lucy Allan on Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sitting in Portcullis House, sipping her tea, Lucy Allan talks about how her first few days as a "newbie" went.

She said it was similar to school and how she felt experienced MPs were like year 11 students, whilst she felt like she was back in year 7.

There's no braggishness among the more experienced MPs, however. She says everyone is extremely helpful, and the other Shropshire MPs, as well as South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson, are on hand to answer any questions she has.

"To help us during our first few days we were even given a guide and they were there to help us with any questions we had," she said.

"Although I think the main question I asked on the first day was where the ladies toilets were, and sometimes I still have to double check."

After drinks Lucy moved on to her office, but to get there was an strange experience.

She walks from the very modern looking Portcullis House, along a subway going under the busy Bridge Street road and out at the bottom of Big Ben.

As she walks towards her office on the second floor, Ms Allan explained that a lot of MPs have compared the Houses of Parliament to Hogwarts out of Harry Potter.

It is easy to see why. The building is full of little passageways and staircases that appear to be endless.

"It's such a big place, you don't realise just how big it actually is until you get here," she said. "It's full of history, and it really is something else.

"It's not just any old workplace – this is full of British heritage and history."

Eventually she reaches her office door, number 2.3, which has a view of Big Ben and currently covered in pink flowery wallpaper.

"They want to redecorate it but I think it looks fine – but then again I do wear a lot of pink, my phone case is pink, the dress I'm wearing is pink.

"I just love the colour. But of course I am also partial to the colour blue."

In her office Ms Allan explains this will be her base every time she is needed in London, but plans on spending as much time as possible in Telford.

"I am a member of Lawley Running Club and I also do boxing every Friday with my trainer Dawn.

"I enjoy that very much so I will be continuing with that and I don't have any plans to leave Telford.

"I will be keeping my house in Lawley Bank, and visiting London when the house is sitting.

"I will also be in Telford whenever parliament is on holiday, because just like school we get something similar 'school holidays' as well."

She also explains how her husband of 24 years will be staying in London due to work, but how he plans on joining her in Telford as much as possible.

She is very protective about her family, pledging to keep them out of the spotlight and even withholding their names from the public domain.

Lucy Allan in her new office in Portcullis House

But she added: "My husband loves Telford, and so does my 14-year-old son.

"They love what it has to offer and I didn't want to move my son there while campaigning but maybe now he may move to one of the many brilliant schools the town has to offer," she said.

"They both came up to visit me during my campaign and even helped me give out leaflets. My husband would come to Telford every Friday, so being apart for a few days is something I'm sure we can cope with.

"Although he does keep recording everything to do with politics and watching them at night once I'm home.

"He recorded the first sitting in the House of Commons from this week and when we were watching it together he turns to me and goes 'Lucy look at you sitting right behind the Prime Minister'.

"I started thinking 'Oh no what if I look like a very enthusiastic newbie?' but I was actually sitting quite far away.

Letters pile up as Lucy Allan's role as an MP gets under way

"But when you go in the House of Commons it's so small and compact, and I promise it was the camera angle that made it look that way."

Just as Ms Allan starts to go through her post, an alarm starts ringing. It sounds like a fire alarm, but she explains it was giving MPs who had been sworn in a 10-minute warning.

She explains that every MP has to be sworn in, in the House of Commons and it's the first day, where David Cameron and his cabinet would take part in the ceremony.

She makes her way back through the corridors and the staircases, coming out at the foot of Big Ben again, and then runs through Westminster Hall and into the House of Commons.

As she gets there she comes across the Prime Minister along with his Cabinet and The Speaker, as they march from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, ready to start the process.

As Ms Allan is a "newbie" she had to wait her turn until later in the week, but she was welcome to watch.

She takes a seat with visitors in the public gallery in the House of Commons, sitting down opposite the Prime Minister, where he spots Ms Allan, nods towards her, smiles and mouths "hello Lucy". The next few minutes sees Mr Cameron along with George Osborne and Theresa May get sworn in.

The House of Parliament corridor which leads to Lucy Allan's new office

"That really was something special, watching the Prime Minister being sworn in," she said. "I imagine there aren't many people who can say they have seen that."

Making her way back towards Westminster Hall she admits she is a bit lost, but the doormen, who treat every MP with the utmost respect, help her find the way.

"They are amazing, they look immaculate in their long tail coats and white crisp shirts, and they treat every one of us with so much respect," she said.

After a few more photos and finishing off the last bit of her tour, Ms Allan decides it is time for another cup of tea, walking past Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the process.

"It's really strange who you bump into while walking around, I'm amazed we haven't seen more, but I imagine they're all busy getting sworn in," she said.

While having a cup of tea Ms Allan uses the time to thank everyone in Telford for their support during her campaign.

She also speaks highly of her predecessor, David Wright saying he did a lot for the town during his 14 years as an MP.

"I have a lot of respect for David Wright and I will do my best to keep the people of Telford happy.

"Like I have said many times before Telford is my new home and I am honoured to be its MP for the next five years."

Lucy Allan takes the lift to her second floor office
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