I was born and brought up in Scotland and moved to the South East of England in 1996, where I have lived ever since.
Before I was elected to represent the South East as an MEP, I was a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Aston University. I chose this institution primarily because of its record on promoting access for local Black and Minority ethnic and working class students. Previous to this I was Acting Director of the National Institute for Health Research Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre at King's College, London, and before that, an Economic and Social Research Council postgraduate fellow at the London School of Economics.
My research focused on what Britain can learn from other European countries to improve the safety and quality of health care, to combat social exclusion, and to make regulation more effective. I have written over twenty peer-reviewed articles and books, and have served as an invited Professor at universities in formerly war-torn Kosovo, where I was engaged in research on electricity supply- essential in a region where extreme energy poverty is normal.
In May 2014 I was elected as Labour MEP for South East England. I now sit on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, am member of the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect and am Chair of the Delegation to Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee. I am a Substitute to the Committee on Regional Development and the Delegation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee. My position on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs means I can campaign for better regulation of the financial markets and making the European economy better for small and medium sized businesses.
I am also a member of the Working Group on Anti-Semitism and a member of the intergroups on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex rights (LGBTI); Long-term investment and reindustrialisation; Welfare and conservation of animals; and Youth Issues.
My other aims as an MEP are to push for a greater focus on creating jobs and sustainable economic growth, and to fight for a higher level of investment from the EU to the South East. I would particularly like to see more funding for the most deprived areas of my constituency.
When the European Parliament is not in session, I live in Oxford, with my partner Ed and our two children, Freddie and Isabella.