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I was elected to Parliament in May 2015. I have a particular interest in health, environment and education. Prior to entering Parliament I worked as an English teacher in secondary schools, a lecturer in further education and an adult education tutor. I have also worked as a travel writer, web editor and web usability specialist.
I was appointed Shadow Employment Minister in October 2016. In this role I seek to hold government to account on a range of issues, including the labour market and the economy, skills, child poverty and social security.
Prior to taking up this role, I had been Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Debbie Abrahams, and before that to Owen Smith.
I sat on the Environmental Audit Committee up until my appointment to Labour’s front bench. The committee examines the impact of government policy on the environment. It is one of only two committees with the power to scrutinise government policy across all departments, the other being the Public Accounts Committee.
I am strongly opposed to the privatisation of the National Health Service and in July 2016 presented the NHS Bill to Parliament. This is a private members bill and seeks to put a stop to the privatisation of the NHS, remove the costly internal market from the health service, deal with PFI debt and integrate health and social care services. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 4 November.
I am a founder member of Defend our NHS, a Merseyside-based campaign group which was originally formed in 2011 to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill.