Over 30 years’ experience in politics and business.
I have over 30 years’ experience in politics and business at a national parliamentary, regional governance and local government level.
This has involved a range of positions, from Research Co-ordinator at The Big Issue in the North, to co-founding an award-winning business in Manchester, through to winning a key parliamentary seat, and now helping businesses develop and grow.
- Started work at 16 in a local factory and then did evening classes to get the qualifications I failed to get at school.
- Gained a degree, as a mature student, from Lancaster University, in political and economic sociology, whilst also working in the evenings and at weekends.
- Elected to Blackburn Council, aged 27 and served eight years.
- Began work as a researcher, first at Bolton Bury Training and Enterprise Council, moving on to a consultancy, then joining The Big Issue in the North in 1997.
- In 1999 co-founded Vision Twentyone, a research and communications agency, with Anne McNamara and Ruth Turner.
- Chosen in 2007 to fight Rochdale Parliamentary seat and went on to win it from the sitting MP in 2010.
- As a Member of Parliament raised various key issues and:
- Co-authored ‘Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith.’
- Named political campaigner of the year 2014 by the Political Studies Institute.
- Instrumental in establishing the Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse.
- Named Contrarian of the Year 2015.
- On returning to business in 2017, now working with various companies and organisations on their development and profile.
- Became Chairman of Downtown in Business London in 2019.