Dawn Butler is living proof that well-behaved women seldom make history

My guest today has made history – more than once. Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central was only the third Black woman elected to parliament, when she became an MP in 2005, aged 37. She was the first Black female whip and then the first Black woman to stand at the dispatch box four years later. You might know her, though, as the person who was ejected from the House of Commons for saying what so many people were thinking and using her parliamentary privilege to call Boris Johnson a liar. 

But before all that Dawn was a computer programmer - no small achievement for a black woman who grew up in the 70s. She also worked in a job centre and then for the GMB union. In short, she is not your common or garden privileged career politician. 

Now 53, Dawn joined me to talk about what drives her, putting her mission down on paper for her new book A Purposeful Life and how being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago caused a total rethink. We also discussed menopause, learning to be still in the moment, why she has no time for women who pull the ladder up behind them and the power of a lime green suit

If you enjoyed this episode you might also like the episodes featuring Nicola Sturgeon and Sabrina Pace-Humphreys.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on Bookshop.org, including A Purposeful Life by Dawn Butler, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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