I am the Labour Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree, speaking up for people in Kensington, Fairfield, Old Swan, Picton, Wavertree, Childwall, and Church wards.
I am pleased to live and work alongside some brilliant, inspiring and community-minded people. People have been disadvantaged by five years of Coalition government, and are fearful about the next five years of Tory government. I am determined to stand up for the people who sent me to Parliament, and to help them get on in life.
I was first elected to Parliament in 2010. I was appointed Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, and then Shadow Minister for Public Health, campaigning for the NHS.
At the general election in 2015 I was re-elected with more people voting locally than before. Nearly 30,000 people voted Labour at the election in Liverpool Wavertree, which is almost 70 per cent of the total number of votes.
In September 2015 I was appointed the first-ever Shadow Minister for Mental Health to serve at Shadow Cabinet level. In this new role, I am determined to hold the government to account for the gaps between its promises and what it actually delivers.
I will also work with people affected by mental health problems, the voluntary sector, professionals and colleagues across shadow government roles to help develop the cross-cutting, world class policies that a future Labour government can put into practice.
As a Member of Parliament, my job is to represent everyone, not just the people who voted for me. If you didn’t vote for me, I promise I will work just as hard on your behalf and try to win your support next time.
I will continue to work with Liverpool City Council, local businesses, charities, schools, community groups, faith groups and the voluntary sector to minimise the harsh impact of government cuts and bring more jobs and opportunities for local people. I will also argue for more homes at rents or mortgages that local people can afford.
I am a child of Thatcher’s Britain. I was born shortly after she came to power in 1979, and grew up amidst the social division and unfairness of the Thatcher years. It was a nasty, shameful period of our history, when communities were torn apart and vulnerable people were left to sink or swim.
I grew up on the edge of London, in a close Jewish family. My Dad runs a family business from his home furnishings shop, and until recently my Mum worked in a Palliative Care Unit, caring for people in the last stages of their lives. My Granddad sold ladies’ fashions from a market stall. I can remember helping him unload his van. My brother is a wonderful professional musician.
I studied at Birmingham and London Universities, and was elected to the National Union of Students (NUS) executive. Joining the world of work, I got a job with Accenture, one of the world’s biggest management consultancies, and advised the Treasury and other parts of government on how to be more effective and efficient. Then I went to work for the NHS Confederation, which represents all the brilliant staff of the NHS. I have also run a non-for-profit organisation working with democratic socialists and trade unions for peace and security in the Middle East.
As a community volunteer I have been a school governor, chair of a tenants’ and residents’ association, and community safety representative.
The common theme for my professional life before coming into Parliament is that I developed an understanding of where power lies, how decisions are made, and how to influence what happens. These are skills I use every day on behalf of local people.
My time is spent in Liverpool, where I was married to my husband Alistair in summer 2015, and for some of the week I am in Westminster working in Parliament. I enjoy strength training and walking to keep fit, and photography. I was delighted when four of my photographs were chosen to be published in a photography book. I also like films and film-making; I produced a short film in 2012 called Breadline Britain, which highlighted the growing scandal of food banks.
I am a passionate believer that everyone, regardless of where they live or were born, should get the opportunity to be the best they can be.
It is a national scandal that we are denied the talents of so many people because they are held back by poverty or injustice. No-one should be disadvantaged because of their postcode, income, gender, sexuality, disability or race.
I want opportunities for all, especially the young people I meet in Liverpool, who could and should be the next generation of great Britons.