Making change together
I grew up in a working class family on the outskirts of London. My dad worked in a print factory. My mum was a cleaner in an old folks’ home. When my dad’s factory closed down under the Thatcher Government, I saw first-hand how unemployment and poverty destroys families and communities. My mum ended up doing three jobs just to try to make ends meet. We struggled, and it taught me why we will always need the Labour Party to protect working people and their communities.
I was the first member of my family to go to university, and I went on to work in education publishing for 16 years, where I was elected branch secretary of my trade union. I became a Labour councillor in Lambeth, and led Labour to victory there against a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. As Leader of the Council, I introduced the Living Wage, invested in better council housing, built six new schools, was the first council leader to introduce a ‘public health’ approach to cut violent youth crime, and led Lambeth’s services for vulnerable children from worst-rated in the country to best rated in every single category despite savage funding cuts imposed by the Conservative Government.
Being your Labour MP is the greatest honour of my life, and something I never even dreamed of as I grew up in an ordinary working-class family. I’m proud of the work I’ve done with local Labour Party members to make change in our community. I got flammable Grenfell-style cladding stripped from a local housing block, I helped get a new school built after the Conservatives left children in portakabins for six years, and I’ve dealt with over 50,000 issues for local people who came to me for help.
My proudest achievement is Seni’s Law. I became the first Labour MP to introduce a major new Act of Parliament from opposition in 22 years. It protects people with mental ill health from violent restraint of the kind that killed Seni Lewis, a young black graduate from South Norwood. This major change only happened because of the support you and other local members give me.
My track record
I’m proud to serve on Labour’s front bench as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. I’ve changed the law to protect people with mental ill health and I’ve taken up over 60,000 cases for people in Croydon North. I’m grateful to local people who’ve elected me four times to serve as their Member of Parliament.
I consider my link with the community to be the most important part of my role as an MP. I’m here to help you.
Since I was elected my office has dealt with over 50,000 cases for constituents. These range from questions about national decisions, issues to raise in parliament, problems with tax, the immigration service, benefits or housing, through to local concerns about the state of the roads. If you would like to open a case, please use the contact form.