‘That politics was the most exciting of all the exciting things in the world I never doubted’
Shirley Williams was born to politics. As well as being influenced by her mother, Vera Brittan, her father George Catlin, a leading political scientist, encouraged his daughter to have high ambitions for herself – including daring to climb the bookshelves in his library. Elected as MP for Hitchin in 1964, she was a member of the Wilson and Callaghan governments and was also the Secretary of State for Education. As one of the ‘Gang of Four’ Shirley Williams famously broke away from the Labour Party to found the SDP in 1981 and later supported its merger with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. This is her story.
Praise for Climbing the Bookshelves
‘Very few politicians are loved, but Shirley Williams was one’ Independent
‘She speaks human, which is a surprisingly rare political talent’ Guardian ‘Decent, sensible, honest and endearing, this book is Shirley Williams to a T’ The Times