WHEN Jane Kennedy quit parliament in 2010 after almost two decades she admitted politics had left her feeling tired and drained.
Two years later, after an interlude running women’s training and volunteering behind the till in a Barnardo's store, she is about to start campaigning to be elected Merseyside’s first police and crime commissioner.
On Monday Ms Kennedy was unveiled as the Labour candidate for the role (which replaces the police authority) and is now favourite to win November’s election for the £85,000-a-year-job.
Ms Kennedy, a former minister, was MP for Wavertree (and its predecessor seat Broadgreen) between 1992 and 2010.
The “unrelenting” pressures of 10 years as a Government minister had taken its toll on her family life.
And she had tired of “highly personal attacks” from Liberal Democrats.
Ms Kennedy said: “At the time I was glad to get out with a huge sigh of relief.
“I felt a physical relief to become an ordinary member of the public again and stop being a public figure.”
So what changed?
“The pressures of making a living, to be perfectly honest. But also because I realised I am actually good at it.
“I do training with women in developing their confidence. In doing that I got a better understanding of myself.
“I came to understand I was a good politician and it was always something I enjoyed doing when I felt I was achieving something.
“When I left parliament I felt that had gone – the sense of excitement and being able to help people.”
Her return to political life has not been without controversy.
The race to land the Labour nomination divided the local Labour party who were split between Ms Kennedy and fellow former Liverpool MP Peter Kilfoyle.
There has been little love lost between the pair for years and the race to land the Labour nomination brought out those tensions.
Police authority chairman Cllr Bill Weightman was also in the running.
Ms Kennedy beat Mr Kilfoyle by 974 votes to 833 once Cllr Weightman’s second preference votes were counted.
“I was very hurt by the ‘little Liverpool’ campaign,” she said, referring to Mr Kilfoyle’s campaign which emphasised his local roots.
“I chose to live in Liverpool, I have lived here for 35 years my family is here, my sons have made their families here.
“I thought it was terribly misjudged to suggest that I had to be born and bred here in Liverpool before I could be the best candidate.