I am a well-established lawyer, a local business leader and father of two, but none of those things really tell you who I am.
I grew up as a mixed-race kid (Indian, Caribbean, and African) in Coventry in the 1980s, which was not easy. I grew up amid neglected, divided communities, and surrounded by factory closures, crumbling schools and hospital waiting lists. It shaped who I am today.
It was 1995 when I joined this great party of ours as a student in Bristol – desperate to see the back of the Tories after the relentless attacks on our communities. I have campaigned in every general election, referendum, and local election since 2005, increasing our vote in target council seats and supporting candidates in the most marginal seats during last year’s very difficult general election.
I have experience of working within communities to turn things around. I have seen what success looks like with Labour in power. I have campaigned with fellow co-operators and trade union colleagues to improve people’s lives, including helping Labour to deliver the world’s first Climate Change Act in 2008.
My wide skillset and the influences that have formed my politics, and the energy I will bring, will be vital in securing a Labour victory.
As a lawyer, I am used to working with business leaders locally and internationally in a wide variety of sectors. It also means I am a trained negotiator, a skill I used to bring Councillors and local community leaders together in 2013 to successfully secure better energy deals for households in West Yorkshire.
I know how to move things forward. I believe in people-led, strong co-operative communities, where everybody benefits. And I want to get things moving here in West Yorkshire for my daughters and for future generations. I want them to grow up in a strong, diverse, and united community, with a healthy planet and with access to opportunities here in West Yorkshire.
My priorities will be to continue to work alongside our communities to make sure people have a say in the better future we will create. We will ensure there is an affordable, reliable, and clean public transport system by integrating bus, rail, taxis, cycles, scooters, and shared cars. We will bring a global health institute to West Yorkshire, investing in the lives of all residents so that no one is left behind. We will create new green jobs, for example by training and employing young people to rewild the South Pennines and setting up a future skills academy.
West Yorkshire cannot wait for Westminster any longer. We need a local champion who will commit to West Yorkshire, make it their number one priority, and win for West Yorkshire on the national and international stage. I live in West Yorkshire. I am committed to West Yorkshire. And I want to grasp this unique opportunity to be that champion and show the difference that Labour can make in power for our communities