Politics isn’t a job, it’s something you’re called to because you want to change the world. Growing up I remember talking to my parents about the things I saw on the news, such as atrocities in Bosnia, and asking why nothing was done. I remember thinking about the future I wanted for my own life and realising not everyone I went to school with was going to get those things that I wanted. That was what brought me into politics: the belief that things need to change and that they won’t unless you are prepared to do your bit.
I joined the Labour Party at 16, shortly after a work experience placement with Crawley’s Labour MP (at the time). At university I studied politics at an undergraduate and postgraduate level, while getting heavily involved in student politics and the Labour Party in Southampton, where my university was based.
I was elected onto Crawley Borough Council in 2010, winning a seat in Northgate which the Lib Dems had held for almost two decades. I became Council Leader in
2014, following two years leading the Labour Group in opposition, at 27 I was the youngest Labour council leader in the UK. I feel enormously privileged to have been given the opportunity to serve Crawley on the council these last few years. Crawley is where I was born, it’s where I went to school, it’s home; I believe we’re the best town in the UK, and we’re working to make things even better.
The New Towns are as much of an achievement of the 1945 Labour Government as the NHS or the cradle to grave welfare state. They aimed to build whole communities in a place where they could live, work and play. Despite almost everyone in the town coming from somewhere different, that mission was successful. Today we continue to work to ensure everyone has a decent job, a place to call home and a stronger community with as much as possible to do in their spare time. The cuts from Government make it hard and clearly we still have a long way to go to reach what I’d like to see as a democratic socialist, but Labour are delivering in Crawley.
Away from the Town Hall, I have represented Crawley on regional and national bodies, such as the LEP, Sussex Police and Crime Panel, LGA and GATCOM. In addition, I have served as a county councillor for Northgate and Three Bridges, and I remain the only Labour candidate to have managed to gain enough support to win in Three Bridges since 2005. I left the county council in 2017 in order to take on more freelance research work and outside of politics I continue to pursue hobbies, such as powerlifting and further learning.
Sooner or later everyone leaves politics, the important thing is that when you do you can look back honestly and say you did your best without compromising your principles. That’s how I’ve always worked and how I plan to go on working.