Victoria Boswell, MGC 1989 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Victoria Prentis

I have wonderful memories from MGC: English lessons with Mr Bowditch who pushed his desk around the classroom as Blake’s Chariot, and instilled in me a lifelong love of Austen and Shakespeare; Mrs Melhuish driving me to debating competitions all over the country, introducing me to power dressing and the movement for the ordination of women; and, Miss Hicks, the librarian who always found exactly the right books.

With this start in life, it seemed natural to read English at Royal Holloway, followed by Law at Downing College, Cambridge. Called to Middle Temple after several years in private practice, I went on to become a lawyer for the Treasury Solicitors’ Department, working on cases involving prisoners, army inquests and national security. Juggling a family life with my career was made much easier by positive job sharing; ultimately we were jointly Head of Security and Justice in the now Government Legal Department. For many years I also dedicated at least one day a week to voluntary work: I was a founding Trustee of the Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership and set up and chaired the Benefactors’ Board of the Oxford Hospitals Charity.

The opportunity to represent the area where I had always lived in the 2015 General Election was not one I could ignore. After 17 years in the civil service and with my daughters settled into secondary school, I was ready to stand. My legal background has been put to good use on the Commons Justice Committee, with Brexit, and in my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Commons, the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, who is responsible for organising Parliamentary business. My charitable work has also continued with initiatives including starting Singing for Syrians and the Great British Spring Clean.

Public speaking tricks I learnt at Malvern are put to good use every day: learning to speak on a subject with only ten minutes notice, and then for a very precise time period (usually 3 or 5 minutes) was invaluable during my time as a barrister and has proved extraordinarily good training day for the House of Commons chamber.

Reconciling the views of over 90,000 constituents is not always easy. Making the most of the opportunity to make a genuine and lasting difference is something I have always been determined to do.

What does success look like?

A work and home life which are balanced.

What is your best piece of advice?

Make one point well.

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