About

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I had the honour of being elected the Member of Parliament for Wirral West in May 2015, winning the seat from the Conservative Party.

I previously 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 and web editor.

Before I became an MP, I was a health campaigner and 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.

I will always oppose NHS privatisation and will continue to fight for a properly funded NHS. In July 2016, I presented the NHS Bill to Parliament. The Bill sought to put a stop to the privatisation of the NHS, remove the costly and inefficient internal market and reinstate the NHS as a public service.

Up until my appointment to Labour’s Front Bench, I was a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, examining the impact of government policy on the environment.

I care deeply about issues relating to climate change and the environment and understand how important the natural world is to the character of Wirral West. I led the campaign against Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in the Dee Estuary; UCG would have seen the drilling for coal gas under Hilbre Island and I am pleased to say that this campaign has been successful so far.  I have opposed proposals for the Hoylake Golf Resort and am committed to protecting the Green Belt.

From March 2018, I had the privilege of serving as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. During my two years in post, I held the Government to account on the deep cuts made to social security, their record on child poverty and the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit which has caused hardship to so many.

Prior to this, I had been Shadow Employment Minister, and before that I was Parliamentary Private Secretary to previous Shadow Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions Debbie Abrahams MP and Owen Smith MP.

I was delighted to be appointed Shadow Schools Minister in April 2020. As a former teacher, I have insight into the issues facing pupils, parents and teachers. I work with colleagues to hold the government to account on education and develop Labour’s policies in this area.

In my Maiden Speech in Parliament, I paid tribute to the strength and character of Wirral West’s varied communities which define this great constituency. I am incredibly proud to serve as MP for Wirral West, and to have been re-elected in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections. I will continue to be a strong advocate for Wirral West in Parliament and to work hard to support my constituents.