New Sheffield MP Louise Haigh: ‘Staff can’t get their heads around me being an MP’

Sheffield’s newest MPs admit they are still coming to terms with their new roles in Westminster.

Louise Haigh was elected MP for Sheffield Heeley at last month’s election after Meg Munn stood down, while former Sheffield Council deputy leader Harry Harpham was elected for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough after former Home Secretary stood down from the seat.

Louise Haigh MP outside Parliament

Louise Haigh MP outside Parliament

Louise, a former Sheffield High School student and Unite shop steward, describes the early stages of her Westminster stint as the ‘first day of big school’.

“Weird is exactly the right word to describe it,” says the 27-year-old, of Woodseats. “I can see very easily how it would be to become part of the establishment.

“It’s a very difficult line to tread between working out how everything works while maintaining a healthy scepticism that most of it a lot of nonsense.

“There’s men in tights running around, so it’s a very very strange experience.

Louise Haigh in her London office interviewed by George Torr

Louise Haigh in her London office interviewed by George Torr

“It’s like first day at big school and some of the older MPs are behaving exactly like that - very established that they’re the big kids.”

Sheffield born-and-bred, Louise said her parents were ‘perplexed’ when she began to become politically active, joining the Labour Party at tenger age of 15.

But Louise says she is raring to go and cites her financial background as a main area she will champion, while focusing on GP waiting times, Woodseats Library and Norton’s Graves Tennis & Leisure Centre improvements

However, her age has already become an issue with many she has come across in Westminster.

Louise Haigh in her London office interviewed by George Torr

Louise Haigh in her London office interviewed by George Torr

“Commons staff can’t get their heads around me being an MP and I’ve been asked time and time again which member I’m working for.

“The age is a battle to overcome, but I think being a woman in here is an obstacle in itself.

“Parliament was set up for men to take part in debates and it’s not a particularly nice place for a young woman.”

The self-proclaimed ‘bit of a punk-girl’ and fan of Sheffield’s pubs admits her social life has already suffered.

Louise Haigh in her London office

Louise Haigh in her London office

“It’s really tough.” she says,

“It’s a lot of pressure on your social life. I think my friends are getting pretty fed up of me already and things come up at the last minute.

“You’ve got no choice you can’t just say ‘I’m going to the pub I can’t come and be the MP this afternoon’.”

However, Louise, is hoping to make her football comeback after suffering a broken leg a few years ago.

“I used to play at university and that would be the only time that I was described as a right-winger,” she says.

“I started playing at school and played for my university team and would love to build my fitness up and play for the parliamentary team.”

Aside from parliament, her time has been dominated by one issue – which has sparked a fierce debate with her boyfriend and brother in Sheffield.

“I’m in the process of moving house and we are going to get a dog,” she says.

“I’ve been looking at dogs more than I have buying a house - I’m more excited about that! There is a lot of debate between us but I’m in favour of a husky.”

The debate continues.