DAVID SHEARER

Labour leader

What is your favourite book?

This would have to be Douglas Bader's

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Reach for the Sky

, the life story of the RAF pilot who lost his legs, became a POW and was eventually knighted for his work in helping others with disabilities.

Why?

It was the first "adult" book that I read. I would probably have been around 10 at the time, and for a young kid it was a hugely exciting read. Here was a guy who was a real war hero - he lost his legs, he was imprisoned in Colditz, he made numerous escape attempts. And after his release he went on to do exactly what he wanted to do. Derring- do and heroism at their best.

How many times have you read it?

Numerous times, as a kid.

What is your favourite movie?

I don't have a favourite movie as such, but one that stands out is

The Lives of Others

. It's a German film about a Stasi officer during the Cold War who is forced into spying on people, until he discovers, for want of a better word, his humanity. Sadly the lead actor [Ulrich Muhe] has died.

Why?

It's a great film - thought-provoking and compelling - about a man torn between his conscience and ideology.