How I got Penny Mordaunt in my BeReal


Millie Simon explains how she survived a Tory dinner by getting Penny Mordaunt in her BeReal

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Image by Millie Simon

By Millie Simon

Need some one-on-one time with a senior Tory politician? Look no further, this is your personal guide, from one dedicated Tory, to another.

Picture this: a Labour Party member, Treasurer of the University of York Labour Club, and employee of a Labour MP, invited to a Tory dinner and talking to the Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt about being a woman in politics. Oh, and her being in my BeReal, of course.

It was a cold Thursday evening in November, and I had travelled from York to Ipswich (the motherland, of course) for one night only. For reasons I’m not allowed to disclose (I’ve signed a NDA), my Dad and I, dressed in our finest uniform and entered the business event. We quickly saw the demographic, heard the phrase “fiscal conservative”, and immediately made a beeline for the alcohol. After some painful mingling and a senior Tory figure handing me his business card (that’s work experience sorted for next summer!), we braved the main event.

She was glowing. She was ethereal. She was centre stage with her back to us, her golden hair flowing like Rapunzel’s. It was like when Regina George was being described by Janis Ian; “she’s the Queen bee, the star”.

We took our seats, everyone with one eye on her (Alexa, play ‘She’ by Dodie). I looked down at the cutlery and began to feel like Nick Miller from New Girl when he’s at the posh restaurant and is confused as to which posh knife to kill himself with. Our main course came out, and I was honestly baffled; what the hell is heritage beetroot, what is it doing on a plate with figs, chicken and poppadoms positioned to look like the Louvre? In between courses (plural!), we were graced with entertainment from a far-right Italian lady, let’s call her Nadine (not Dorries!). She was a delight! She had what I can only describe as Rose’s necklace from the Titanic, the one that I thought she lost at the bottom of the Atlantic. But alas! Here it was on Nadine’s chest. She was honestly the kindest bigot I’ve ever met. After explaining her background, she asked about mine, and after informing her she exclaimed, “I like Indians!”. After some painful generalisations of Indian culture, with me quietly practising some self-CPR, we, mercifully, moved on to the main event.

Despite being incorrectly introduced by Ipswich MP, Tom Hunt, Penny was composed and relaxed, and she effortlessly wooed the crowd with her quick wit and clean aesthetic. She began by gushing over the monarchy, at which point Dad and I reached for the largest glass of wine which we gulped whilst humming republican tunes to ourselves. Despite almost having a coughing fit to which half of the men in the room galloped to her aid with jugs of water, Miss Mordaunt remained classy and calm for the duration of her solipsistic speech.

One outstanding moment from the entire evening was explaining The Thick of It to a Tory and outlining the character Malcolm Tucker: “Think of Priti Patel on steroids”. My bad, that’s unfair to Malcolm Tucker.

After some elaborate meals and excruciating conversations with Daily Mail-esque readers, the event was over. But I seized the opportunity. I confidently walked over to Penny, who was being bored to death by a man’s attempt at flirting and said, “Hello, my name’s Millie. I’m a student studying Politics at York and I wanted to say what an honour it was, to hear you speak”. I stole the boring man’s chair, sat next to Penny and asked her to be in my BeReal - to which she agreed, and then we conversed about the trials and tribulations of modern-day politics. The rest, as they say, is history (or maybe politics!)