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From ‘junior air hostess’ to first female Lord Chancellor

Published on 13/03/17

Students at Thetford Academy have heard from the UK’s first female Lord Chancellor how early experiences of sexism inspired her to break gender barriers in her political career.

Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and first female holder of the historic post, visited the school on Friday, March 10 to meet sixth form government and politics, history, and business studies students.

She told the students how as a child she went on an aeroplane with her family and was outraged to be offered a badge saying ‘Junior air hostess’ while her brothers were given ‘Junior pilot’ badges: “I was so annoyed!”

After graduating from Oxford University in 1996, Ms Truss started work in business, but she soon realised that politics was where her true passion was.

“I found politics fascinating and wanted to change things,” she said.

In 2010 she was elected as the Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, and worked as schools minister and environment secretary before becoming justice secretary in 2016.

“When you get the call from the Prime Minister, you have no idea what job you’re going to get,” said Ms Truss.

“So when Theresa May told me, ‘I’ve decided to make you the first female Lord Chancellor,’ I was delighted!”

The office of Lord Chancellor is an important constitutional role which involves making sure the judiciary is independent. The Lord Chancellor is also the keeper of the Great Seal of the Realm, which is used to seal bills of Parliament before they are passed by the Queen.

Thetford Academy principal Kevin Blakey said: “It was fantastic for our sixth formers to meet Ms Truss and get an insider’s insight into what it’s like to have a successful career in politics.

“Her appointment as Lord Chancellor shows that it’s possible to achieve your highest aspirations if you are determined and work hard, which is a great inspiration for our students.”