I am a university teacher, a Labour councillor, and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills here in Southampton. I’m standing to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Southampton Itchen because it’s my home constituency, because I know and care deeply about the issues that affect our neighbourhoods, and because I will fight in parliament to make a difference for people here at home.
Our public services have shaped who I am today. From the nurses in the Tyneside hospital where I was born, to the social workers and my adopted family as a child, I know first-hand the difference it makes whether these services exist or not, and whether a government invests in them properly or not.
My parents taught me the value of hard work: they worked several jobs at a time to support our family, and moved from Tyneside to Hampshire in the 1980s to find better prospects for us. I was inspired and encouraged by the teachers in my state school, and I went on to be the first in my family to reach higher education. I came to this city in 2000 to study and now I teach Spanish and Linguistics at the University.
Southampton Itchen is my home constituency: it’s where my wife and I made our home, where our two children were born, and it’s where they now go to our local school. Since I was elected a Councillor in 2011, I’ve worked hard to speak up for people I meet, and to make our communities even better places to live, learn, and work.
All of this is what drives me: the fight to ensure that everyone gets an education that will empower them, to give everyone the chance to do well in life whoever they are, to live in safe and thriving neighbourhoods, and to retire with dignity. I won’t stand by as the Tories pull up the ladder of opportunities for so many people, and starve our public services of the resources they desperately need.
We need a Labour government that will build a fairer, better future for everyone in Southampton Itchen. I was proud to stand for parliament in 2015 and 2017 on Labour’s radical and inspiring manifesto. It would be a privilege to stand again, to campaign with you in my home constituency, and to speak up in parliament to get a better deal for our city.