Cheltenham

I’ve been to the Cheltenham Literary Festival every year since my first book was published in 2013 but this visit was different. On this occasion I was appearing at the splendid rococo Pump Rooms on the penultimate event on our 2019 theatre tour.
 
My daughter Emma, who lives not far away, was in the audience with her partner Simon and we were due to meet up for a drink afterwards.
 
Cheltenham is a literary town. It’s also a civil service town with the huge GCHQ site on the outskirts.
As Home Secretary I had responsibility for MI5 and GCHQ comes under MI6 which is the responsibility of the Foreign Secretary. But I met GCHQ officials every week at high level security meetings and visited the site twice in my year at the Home Office.
 
I have huge admiration for the work they do to keep us safe. Whether some of the staff were in the audience we’ll never know. They don’t tend to advertise their presence.
 
A wonderful event.
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