“I'm not somebody who would choose to socialise with people who are Tories”
What Steven asked Teresa Murray, Deputy Leader of Medway Council.
For today’s Sunday interview, Steven sat down with Teresa Murray, the new Deputy Leader of Medway Council. Cllr Murray was first elected to Medway Council in 2000 and was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Group whilst in opposition. They met in her office in Gun Wharf to discuss why she is a member of the Labour Party, why she stood for parliament and why she isn’t friends with the former leader of the council.
Where were you born?
And what brought you to Medway?
What jobs did your parents do growing up?
My dad was a builder and decorator, and my mum was a part-time shop worker. My family are Irish.
How did you find school and university?
Good. I went to Coloma Convent Grammar School, which is a Catholic school in Shirley in Croydon, and before that, I went to Norbury Manor Infants. So, I’m a South Londoner, but I left school when I was 16 and I did all of my qualifications as a teacher part-time, because I was young when I had my family.
What was your first full-time job?
My first full-time job was in teaching. I had a family, so I did lots of part-time work. I came to Medway, so I worked part-time in a play group, I worked part-time in the Shipwrights pub in Dale Street, where I lived at the time. When my son was three, I started studying teacher training. When he went to school, I got a full-time job.
What is your official occupation?
I would say I'm a college lecturer, but I'm not working anymore. I stopped working full-time in 2017 and stood as a parliamentary candidate, and then I went into a new phase of my life because I hadn’t worked part-time for a very long time. I was working in family support at Rochester prison, which I really enjoyed because I hadn't had a job before that you didn't have to worry about in the evenings. As a teacher you do a lot of work in the evening, and as a senior manager, head of faculty, I was always working outside of my working hours. Willingly and freely, but it is a big part of doing that job properly. Having a part-time job that was a worthwhile job, supporting the families of prisoners, including working in the family courts. I enjoyed it, but when I went home I didn't think about it, and by then of course the politics was such a big part of my life.
What additional roles, paid or unpaid do you do?
I'm a full-time councillor and deputy (leader). I left work in December to fight the elections with a determination to win and that's enough for me. I want to do the job properly and it's proving to be a pretty big job actually. It's like working full-time again, but that's okay.
Your official title is?
Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Health and Adult Services.
Why are you the Deputy Leader of the council?
I do know professionally how to manage things, and I think that's helpful. I think that I'm a pretty good people manager. I don't mean that in a kind of disciplinarian way, but I do care about people, I like to know what makes them tick and certainly during the election Vince and I had individual meetings with everybody. We asked them about their special interests, we asked them if they had any concerns about family or personal concerns that we needed to support them with or address and I think we were pretty successful in in binding a good team together. I would say I am a pretty good team player. I like working with other people, but I'm not afraid to take hard decisions. If a decision needs making, I will make it. I don't prevaricate, but I am a democrat as well, so I hope that if I make a decision, people understand where I've come from to arrive at that. I also think I'm I'm quite a good political performer, and that's important.
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