She’s been a councillor for 10 years and in May will become Leeds Mayor. Neil Hudson finds out why the 66-year-old former teacher wants to ban lorries on Sundays and how she almost didn’t meet her husband
How did you become a councillor?
I helped my brother, Mark Harris, get elected something like 30 years ago and then I helped some other people win seats and one day someone said, why don’t you stand for election.
What is your earliest memory?
My first memory is of being given a green tin with an Easter egg inside it and also going to visit my brother when he was born in hospital. I would have been about two-and-a-quarter.
If you could pass a new law, what would it be?
I would ban all HGVs on the motorway and other major roads on a Sunday. In the past, when families lived in the same community, it was easy to see people but nowadays everyone is so spread out but Sunday is the busiest day, the traffic is terrible.
What would be your X-Factor audition song?
It would be ‘It’s The Hard Knock Life’ from the musical Annie.
What would you put into Room 101?
My computer. Technology and me don’t go well together. I often need a lot of support from our IT people. I do not like having to remember all the different passwords and the fact they change every month.
What makes you happy?
There are many happy times in life but I think the one that stands out is marrying my husband, Alan. We met by chance at a party. I had been invited to go to this house and I wasn’t going to go but decided in the end I’d better show my face. So, I went there and ended up talking to this man, who introduced himself as Alan. We chatted and at the end of the night, he asked me for a lift home, because he didn’t drive and I said yes. Later on it emerged that he had been asked to go to the party to meet another girl called Judith, who I also happened to know. It just so happened that he met me first, which was a funny turn of events.
What keeps you awake at night?
My husband snoring (I told him I was going to say that.)
If you could have anyone play you in a film version of your life, who would it be?
If you could achieve something in life, what would it be?
I would like to take all children out of poverty, ideally across the world but you have to start somewhere and Leeds is a good enough place for that.
What are you looking forward to?
The prospect of being mayor is exciting. I’ve already agreed to attend a cricket club centenary but I told them only if I can bat. There will be lots of other official engagements to go to as well.