Lunch with... Mary Macleod

Written by Amber Elliott on 1 September 2012 in Culture
The PPS to Nick Herbert samples classic French cuisine with Amber Elliott

This article is from the August issue of Total Politics

Mary Macleod, the Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth. PPS to policing minister Nick Herbert and founder of the all-party parliamentary group for women in Parliament. She previously worked for the Queen as a policy and strategy adviser, and was once mistaken for Gordon Brown’s wife.
The restaurant 
The Greenhouse
Hidden on a side street in Mayfair, chef Arnaud Bignon explores French cuisine with flair. Diners have plenty of space, and while the lunch menu is limited, the flavours are complex.
The menu
Starter Both had egg with white asparagus, chorizo, spring onion, nasturtium.
Main course Sea trout with peas, lemongrass and mint; lamb with apricot, panisse, black olive and date.
Dessert Mint tea.
We drank 
Sparkling water; pineapple juice with lime.
We discussed
Police commissioners It’s gathering some momentum. I was initially slightly worried, because I felt the public didn’t know enough about it. All the parties are selecting candidates, and people need to know that it exists. It’s a fabulous role, less party-political, and more about saying, “You’re the people’s champion for policing and reducing crime and victims.” The ‘victims’ part of it is terribly important: who stands up for victims as part of this? You can argue that the police are there to support – and voluntary organisations do things – but this is someone who is elected and accountable for helping support victims. The home secretary has one objective on crime: to reduce crime, simple as that. What each police commissioner can do is make it local to them.
Royals I wasn’t on the royal flotilla. I was on the parliamentary terrace. Although it was cold and wet, it was lovely. Great Brits – get into the spirit of it. Ignore the weather. I did worry about the Duke of Edinburgh, though.
Heathrow I’m always very conscious of Heathrow. It’s my biggest local issue. I do have this… love/ hate relationship with Heathrow. I want the UK to have the best aviation system in the world, and for Heathrow to be the best airport in the world, but I also take into account the local residents and their quality of life. Over decades, Heathrow managers said, “We’re not going to build any further”, and, each time, they’ve broken that promise. Residents don’t believe them any more. So when they say, “Can we have a third runway?”, my residents say, “Well, what about a fourth and fifth”. I’m confident there will be no third runway in this term.
Banking inquiry I’m a former banker so I know the industry. I feel that we need some banking reform. But, at the moment, we need to rebuild the public trust. What I don’t like is bank-bashing because we need our financial services sector. It’s typically been successful and we need it to grow the economy. We should channel energies in the banking sector onto the right things – supporting micro-businesses and lending. It is a few people who’ve done things wrong, or made bad decisions. We need to get rid of those people and move forwards.
Independent-minded MPs What’s nice about Zac Goldsmith is he is in politics because he has a cause. He’s not in it for himself. There are many who are in it for power or their own prestige. It’s ridiculous. What we want are politicians with experience from the outside, who can make a difference to the constituency, the country, the world at large. We’ve had careers elsewhere so we don’t just accept what we’re told. Yes, most of us are team players and want the government to succeed but, at the same time, it’s important that we try and influence government thinking.
Perfect for
Those who like discovering London’s hidden gems. Discreet location, subtle flavours, attentive staff.
Not suitable for
Those who like meals heaped on a plate. Dishes are delicately presented, although you could fill up on the delicious parmesan bread. 
The cost
A two-course lunch is £25, excluding wine.
To book a table, visit or call 020 7581 1101

Tags: Issue 50, Lunch with, Mary Macleod MP, Mayfair, The Greenhouse

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