I grew up in Swindon in a typical family (my dad was an electrician and my mum spent most of her time looking after me and my brother). Politics was never a part of my upbringing – heated discussion was more likely to be about football than anything else!
I was the first person in my family to go to university and it was there where my political views were shaped. I moved to London in 1999 and I have lived in Lewisham, with my husband Martin, since 2002. I have worked as a parliamentary researcher for Joan Ruddock MP, have run a national campaign for Clothes Aid and have been an unpaid Director of a number of companies, including the leading economic development company Greater London Enterprise.
In 2004 I became a Labour Councillor in one of Lewisham’s most deprived wards. I became acutely aware of the impact that politics has on the lives of our poorest citizens. From 2006-10, I was Lewisham’s fulltime Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and I saw at first hand how decisions taken by government affect local public services. In May 2010 I was elected to Parliament, taking over from the previous Labour MP Bridget Prentice, and was re-elected at the May 2015 General Election.
I am passionate about what the Labour Party stands for – fairness, equality and concern for our neighbours here and overseas. I want to stand up for our community in Parliament, rebuild trust in politics and work to address the inequality and injustice that still exists in our society.
The public’s faith in politicians has been shaken recently and at a time when the country is grappling with a challenging economic climate, Lewisham East needs an MP who can be trusted, who has integrity and who will work tirelessly for our community. I hope to be just that!