David Cameron meets the Tesco Mum of the Year winners and is interviewed by Carol Vorderman.
He is one of the busiest men in the world, but Tesco magazine was invited to meet him for a rare glimpse behind the scenes at Number 10. During a politics-free visit David Cameron meets the Tesco Mums of the Year and tells Carol Vorderman about his relationship with his own mum, wife and children.
When the Prime Minister heard about the incredible achievements of this year’s winners of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards, he asked us if he could meet the mums in person to honour the amazing work they do. The visit was kept a secret from the Mums who were only told it was happening as they got into the cars taking them to Downing Street. They were all excited at the prospect of visiting the famous address and having the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister in person.
As the Mums were guided through Number 10, they were stunned at just how big the building actually is, and kept stopping to look at famous artwork displayed along the corridors. They also smiled as they remembered the famous Hugh Grant scene from Love Actually where he danced down the stairs, commenting that everything looked exactly as it had done in the film.
Once in the Pillared Room, the Mums sat and waited for the Prime Minister to arrive. They were all in high spirits, laughing at stories Celebrity Mum of the year Gabby Logan and Carol Vorderman told them about what went on behind the scenes in TV, when suddenly David Cameron walked in and declared there seemed to be a lot of fun going on and could he join in. The Prime Minister then went around the room speaking to each of the mums in turn, listening to their inspiring stories. And, despite the polite insistence of his aides, he wouldn’t hurry the mums, urging them all to tell their tales of campaigning to change food safety laws, peacekeeping in the community, or fundraising for research into brain tumours.
When everyone had had their say, the ladies were whisked off to inspect the Cabinet Office, State Rooms and the garden. The Prime Minister was directed into an adjacent room where the Tesco magazine photographer and art director were waiting to begin taking photos and Carol was ready to quiz him...
Carol The mums are lovely aren’t they?
David They’re amazing. When you think that they’ve done all those things and brought up children at the same time, it’s very humbling.
Carol I know you’re very close to your mum. What was she like when you were growing up?
David She was a very loving mum. She worked as a magistrate one or two days a week, but was around the rest of the time. She’s a very warm person, but she’s also very organised. Everyone looks up to my mum. She engenders respect.
Carol Was she strict?
David Not particularly. There were kind of rules and dos and don’ts, but she was good fun. She was great at picking up a tennis racket, kicking a football, or taking us swimming. She had a brilliant sense of humour, and still does. I was on the phone to her at the weekend – she’s coming down to stay on Friday. She’s full of bounce.
Carol Is she her own woman then?
David Very much so. She’s one of those people who, if young now, would have gone to university. She’s incredibly sharp and clever, but that simply wasn’t what women did in those days.
Carol My daughter Katie is 19 and son, Cameron, is 15 now. I find, as a mother of a boy, it’s a different kind of relationship.
David I think it’s a strong relationship. Boys love their mums and mums love their boys. I’ve never analysed my relationship with my mum much. When you’ve got a good relationship, you don’t need to, you just get on with it.
Carol How has it been since your father suddenly passed away? You must have found it very hard.
David It was a very big shock to everybody obviously, and to Mum, because they were married for more than 46 years. I think Mum still feels lonely. But the good thing is that she’s got lots of grandchildren. She’s a pretty active granny. If you want any support with childcare, you’ve got to book in pretty early.
Carol How old is Florence now?
David Florence is two in August and she’s tottering around. She’s just beginning to talk. If you say what noise do cows make she can just about do the moo.
Carol That sounds like me after a night out! [They both laugh.]
David She’s at a very sweet age. I think she likes the fact she sees her dad a bit more than she might do if I wasn’t living on the premises, as it were. I sometimes pop up and have lunch with her, but make slightly less mess than she does I hope!
Carol Did your mum like Samantha when you first took her home?
David Yes. Sam was a friend of my sister, so mum knew her and I think sort of approved. They get on very well and have one of the best wife/mother-in-law relationships I know. They’ve been on holiday together without me!
Carol And when it comes to the kids, do you and Sam play good cop, bad cop?
David A bit. I’m usually the good cop. Sam’s brilliant at just playing with the children and having a great time. Whereas I’m more of a typical dad – let’s go and plant the vegetables, let’s go on a cycle ride, or let’s do a structured activity. My biggest obsession with the kids is cooking. It’s brilliant.
Carol Can you cook?
David Yes, I do a lot of cooking anyway but I’ve got into more child-friendly cooking such as pancakes, baking, rhubarb crumble – anything that involves getting messy and licking the bowl. As a kid, that was always the most exciting thing.
Carol Do you prefer cake mixture or cake?
David Cake mixture by a mile. Also apple crumble while you’re making the crumble – it’s never as good once it’s cooked.
Carol What do you think are the most important things that we as parents, can give our children?
David I think the most important thing is love… and time. The fascinating thing is, the more you put in, the more you get back. Even with babies. I know if I spend time with Florence, I get more out of her. She appears when I walk into the flat and pats the sofa, as if to say now sit down, don’t just come up here and eat your lunch. She’s worried I’m going to rush in and out, which is what I often have to do. I think a framework is also important. I do believe in structure – if children know what’s expected of them in terms of how to behave, how to eat, what time bedtime is, it works. Routine, structure, boundaries.
Carol Just thinking about the women who read Tesco magazine, a lot of them are mums who have to work, as well as do the school run, and then come home to cook as well. How much empathy do you have for these women?
David I have huge respect. It’s incredibly difficult. I’m very lucky because Sam is super organised. Already this morning she’s done so much. It’s Book Day, so we’ve got Nancy dressed as Miss Piggy and Elwen as Winnie-the-Pooh, the children have been fed, taken to school, the dressing up has already taken place, and at the same time she’s packing for our trip to Washington. I’m very lucky. I do still change nappies though!
Carol We hear lots about troublesome teenagers, and obviously we had the terrible riots last summer, but many of the readers, and I count myself among them, have wonderful teenagers. Do you think there should be more opportunities for them to come forward?
David I think we need to do more to celebrate what they do. We saw an ugly side of not just youth, but of Britain, in the riots. But, if you look at the majority of young people – how hard they study, the results they’re achieving, what they’re doing in sport and creatively, too – they’re a great example. There are some fantastic role models. There’s a lot in the press about the dysfunctional minority rather than the extremely functional, successful majority.
Carol And what will be your favourite Olympic sport to watch?
David If I’m allowed to, I’d like to watch either the 5,000 or 10,000 metres. I enjoy watching them on TV – I’ve never been to an athletics track and seen events live. I’m going to a few events – I’m taking other prime ministers and hopefully getting lots of business people to come and invest in Britain.
Carol So make us laugh, who was your first celebrity crush?
David I’m afraid, like everyone else, I think I had that poster of Cheryl Tiegs on my wall.
Carol Did you have the famous Athena poster of the girl playing tennis as well?
David I probably did, but that’s very un PC –isn’t it?
And with that everyone laughs and he is whisked off for his next duty.