Politicians of all political hues have submitted to a Mumsnet grilling about their policies and pledges. As then PM Gordon Brown put it: "You certainly ask more difficult questions than Question Time."
"Scotland needs the financial powers of a normal Parliament, raising the money we spend rather than relying on dwindling Westminster handouts. We say give us the tools to do the job, with full financial responsibility for Holyrood." Alex Salmond, February 2011
First minister of Scotland Alex Salmond joined us for a webchat in February 2011 to discuss the impending Scottish election, education, transport, foreign policy, energy and voting systems, plus racing tips and changing nappies.
"Technology means that people no longer have a stranglehold on distribution, and arts organisations can pioneer new ways of engaging either by telecasting into cinemas, or with apps and things like that." Ed Vaizey, January 2011
Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, joined us on 31 January 2011 for a webchat. He discussed government plans for music education in schools, net neutrality and library closures.
"We don't think it's fair that working people should pay their taxes to ensure that others can live in the kind of homes that they themselves could not possibly afford. However, the changes we're making are pretty moderate." Grant Shapps, December 2010
Local government and housing minister Grant Shapps joined us in 2010 to take on questions about his pre-election promises, housing benefit cuts and social housing, as well as how to balance being a local councillor with family life, and what to do if you're interesting in becoming a councillor yourself.
"As for the deficit, I wish there was a get-out-of-jail-free option. There isn't. We have the largest peacetime deficit in UK history. It's simply not fair to saddle our children with this generation's debt." Nick Clegg, September 2010
Nick Clegg came to MNHQ as deputy PM for his third webchat in September 2010, ahead of the UN Millennium Development Goals summit. He was quizzed about maternal mortality and international development - and other burning political issues closer to home.
"If Labour wants to win back people's trust, recognising the profound mistake of the Iraq war is an important starting point." Ed Miliband, August 2010
Ed Miliband, his brother David, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott were our guests ahead of the Labour leadership election in September 2010 for our first five-way live webchat.
The candidates answered questions on graduate tax, benefits, New Labour, key policies, their ideas for tackling the UK's deficit and many, many other issues.
"It's impossible to say precisely how much money the government will have to spend in three or four years time, because that depends on how much the economy is growing. That's why it's so important we secure the recovery this year – and not put it at risk." Gordon Brown, May 2010
A mere three days before the 2010 General Election, prime minister Gordon Brown made his second visit to Mumsnet, and answered questions on everything from how Labour would tackle the economic deficit, immigration and child benefit to his Tory candidate name and whether Peter Mandelson is a baddie.
"I know there are lots of parents who don't want their children to go to faith schools and are frustrated that the best schools in their area are church or faith schools - that's why I'd like to see more organisations coming into the state sector who have philosophies, and offer pedagogies which reflect what parents want." Michael Gove, April 2010
The shadow secretary of state for children, schools and families joined us and answered questions on everything from the Conservatives' policies on free schools, inclusion, the curriculum, bullying and political gaffes to Lady Gaga gags and Nick Clegg falling in with the wrong crowd.
"For a hundred years there has been a deep-rooted inequality in the state pension between men and women, because too many women were penalised for time spent looking after kids or elderly relatives." Yvette Cooper, April 2010
Yvette Cooper, the former secretary for state for work and pensions, joined us at Mumsnet Towers on the day Labour launched its manifesto for families. She answered questions about toddler tax credit, pensions and childcare, as well as job centres, the election campaign and more.
"I loathe the BNP, but simply telling people how odious they are isn't enough. Our experience shows that the way you beat the BNP is by getting out on people's doorsteps, listening to their anxieties, and showing how the BNP's policies of hatred simply don't solve a single problem." Nick Clegg, January 2010
Nick Clegg, who was leader of the Liberal Democrats at the time, battled through the snow and a jostling throng of political reporters to log on from Westminster in January 2010 and give us his exclusive reaction to that day's Labour leadership revolt.
"I don't think it's a given that decent, good quality produce has to cost more. It is important that shoppers in the UK can access affordable food and increases on ordinary items such as milk affect people on lower incomes in the UK the most."Douglas Alexander, January 2010
Douglas Alexander joined us in March 2010 when he was secretary of state for international development and Labour election coordinator, He did the webchat during Fairtrade Fortnight, and discussed fairtrade, overseas development, climate change, Gordon Brown's personality, the general election and more.
"You're right that fairness has got to be part not only of our international and domestic climate and energy policies. We don't want to put a brake on other countries' development. But also we don't them to repeat the same high carbon route that we took. So it's about helping them to grow their economies in a low carbon way." Ed Miliband, December 2009
The soon-to-be Labour leader visited in 2009 ahead of leading the UK negotiations at the Copenhagen summit. Questions - and answers - came thick and fast on climate change, green energy, nuclear power, disposable vs cloth nappies, carbon capture, Labour Party leadership, what it's like being mistaken for his brother and why he never carries fruit in public.
"The media is powerful but I don't think we can blame them for the recession. The fact is that we borrowed too much as a country, the government borrowed too much and we now have to deal with a difficult situation." David Cameron, November 2009
David Cameron was our guest for the second time in November 2009 when he was leader of the Conservative party, answering your questions on help for families of children with disabilities, Tory plans for education, the armed forces, childcare vouchers, care homes, education, civil partnerships, the NHS and more.
"Our children go to a local state primary in Hackney and they will go onto a state secondary too. But, while Yvette and I are public figures, and have chosen to be so, our children have never made that choice and I would rather keep their lives private. I hope you understand." Ed Balls, September 2009
Ed Balls, who at the time was former secretary of state for children, schools and families, visited MNHQ (impressing us all with his typing skills) and answered questions about class sizes, summer-born babies, school admissions, special needs, childcare provision and much, more more.
"I just don't agree that being a 'sex worker' is a reasonable choice for women. Surely, we can aspire to more than that relations between men and women can be commercialised sex. This is the 21st century, for heaven's sake!" Harriet Harman, September 2009
Harriet Harman, former leader of the House of Commons and Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, joined us in 2009 to chat about maternity leave, breastfeeding, the sex industry – and her fondness for Strictly Come Dancing's Anton DuBec.
"It is a fact that unbalanced media coverage can put extra pressure on NHS staff by people making unnecessary visits to GPs or NHS Direct." Andy Burnham, July 2009
Andy Burnham, who at the time of his Mumsnet webchat was secretary of state for health and MP for Leigh in Greater Manchester, joined us for a swine flu-themed chat in July 2009 (a mere six weeks into the job) when the virus had just hit Britain and everyone was clamouring for the latest advice and information.
"Green Party policy is about making environmentally friendly (or welfare friendly) choices more affordable. For example, organic food doesn't have to be more expensive than non-organic – it's a result of the taxation system we've chosen to implement." Caroline Lucas, June 2009
Caroline Lucas, who was leader of the Green Party at the time, first joined us for a chat just prior to the European elections in June 2009 and shot the political breeze with Mumsnetters on everything from climate change, environmentally friendly parenting and toxic toys to maternity care. Caroline paid us another visit in March 2010, weeks away from the start of the General Election campaign.
"It seems to me that the most important thing for government to do is empower women with the freedom and information to make the best choice about breastfeeding. I think nannying and lecturing mothers about this is likely to be counter-productive." Andrew Lansley, February 2009
Andrew was shadow health secretary and Tory MP for South Cambridgeshire when he joined us in 2009 to talk about maternity care and the Conservative party's plans to improve care for women in labour.
"The problem we still face is that the UK has one of the biggest gender pay gaps in Europe - 20% higher than the EU average - because at the moment all maternity benefits are loaded on the female." Maria Miller, July 2008
Maria Miller visited us in 2008, when she was shadow minister for the family, and discussed work/life balance and talked about what it's really like being an MP and a mother.
"We don't offer single MMR vaccines because this involves more appointments, and more chances that children will miss appointments or catch measles, mumps or rubella in the gaps between the vaccines – if we offered single vaccines, more children would get ill." Alan Johnson, April 2008
Former home secretary and Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle Alan Johnson visited us in 2008, when he was secretary of state for health. After the chat we created a ten-point list of recommendations to improve miscarriage care, which was passed on to the Government.
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