National Executive Committee Member of the Labour Finance & Industry Group
Nick Griffin inspired me to re-join the Labour Party. Coming face-to-face with the poisonous politics that had, for too long, been allowed to fester in communities characterised by multigenerational deprivation, graphically demonstrated to me the need for economic and political renewal in the Labour Party and the country – and that I needed to “step up to the plate” to campaign for change.
I am therefore committed to working with Labour to develop a One Nation Industrial Strategy that will bring prosperity to every corner of the country. To that end, I am now on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Finance and Industry Group (LFIG) and Vice Chair of the LFIG Energy Policy working group, engaging directly with the Shadow DECC team and with stakeholders from the Energy industry.
Christians on the Left
I am actively involved with Christians on the Left (formerly CSM) at national level, working to reform the organisation and build a constructive relationship between the Labour Party and the Church. I was at the forefront of the campaign to change the name to Christians on the Left. This was part of a deliberate strategy to engage churches such as Christchurch, Hitchin more effectively.
A Future Candidates’ Programme participant
In 2011 I was selected for Labour’s inaugural residential Future Candidates’ Programme. This means that the national party consider me to have what it takes to be an outstanding parliamentary candidate. It also means that I am – by definition – not a “career politician” as the programme isn’t open to aspiring candidates who have worked in politics.
In 2009 I headed up the campaign to keep the BNP off Cumbria County Council. The campaign was successful despite threadbare resources and manpower against the full force of the national BNP machinery that saw West Cumbria as key target territory.
I enjoy campaigning and have a reputation for bringing stamina, work ethic and enthusiasm to campaigns. In Copeland in 2010 I was routinely out on the doorstep 7 days a week in addition to leafleting, letter writing and community activism. Since moving to Hertfordshire, I have campaigned in Hertford & Stortford, North East Hertfordshire, Harlow, Stevenage, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Bermondsey & Old Southwark, and in the Feltham & Heston and Corby by-elections.
I have stood for election twice. In 2011 I stood in the Christchurch Ware ward of East Hertfordshire District Council. In 2013 I stood in the Letchworth East & Baldock division of Hertfordshire County Council. In this election, having headed up my own campaign with threadbare resources and manpower, I increased the Labour vote by 12.6%, moved Labour from 3rd to 2nd place and halved the Conservative majority.
A Community Activist
As an active member of the local church and business community I was appointed by the LEA to be a School Governor of St. Bridget’s School Parton. I understood that the key issue facing the school was to raise the aspirations and widen the horizons of the children. In response to this I arranged for years five and six to visit the City of London offices of Herbert Smith LLP with activities organised by agencies who work to raise aspirations at schools in innercity London. It was combined with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery and a visit to their local MP, Jamie Reed, in Parliament. I secured funding from my employer, Herbert Smith to ensure that the trip was completely free for every schoolchild. The feedback from the trip was that it had had a measurable impact on the children’s aspirations and horizons. Shortly before leaving West Cumbria I was asked to take over as Chair of Governors but was unable to take up the post due to my relocation.
As a Parish Councillor in Parton, West Cumbria, I encountered the Flood and Water Management Bill as it was making its way through the Houses of Parliament. The village had endured severe flooding – not only because of too much rainfall – but because the village’s infrastructure was so out-of-date and because the privatized water utilities weren’t investing in upgrading it. The bill sought to change this and the local MP, Jamie Reed, used the example of Parton on several occasions during debates in Parliament. My professional expertise meant that I was able to understand the whole process from problem to legislative solution and I was able to articulate to the Council – and the people of Parton – how the work that their local MP was doing in Parliament would transform their lives and their local community.
During my time with a previous employer, I undertook pro-bono work at the Whitechapel Legal Advice Centre helping clients who weren’t in aunionized workforce with employment problems. This experience graphically demonstrated to me the appalling exploitation that many low paid workers suffer when they are not in trade unions. One disabled man with dependent young children did not receive any wages for 3 months. He also couldn’t sign on because he was officially in work.