I grew up on a council estate - which was not without its challenges. Throughout my life my Mum struggled with mental health problems and life for me, my brother and sister wasn’t the easiest. For the most part, I was raised by my Grandma who worked at three jobs to put food on the table and didn't stop until the day she died — three days before her 65th birthday.
Growing up in those circumstances has shaped who I am and what I believe.
A parent in my teens, I got a job as soon as I was old enough. Staying on in education wasn’t something for people like me and I wanted to make sure my son had a better start in life than I did.
My first job was as a carer, looking after elderly people in their homes. I stayed in that profession for almost a decade and experienced the conditions that often make headlines today - that’s why I joined a trade union.
I saw how care workers were continually paid below the minimum wage and asked to do more for less. Never one to sit back and stay quiet, I got more involved and trained as a union rep. That was my first experience of representing working people.
After years representing people in employment tribunals, negotiating better terms and conditions, and delivering improved training for care staff, I was proud to be elected by the people I worked alongside to represent 200,000 public sector workers in the North West as a Unison lay official.
I joined the Labour Party almost a decade ago because it was clear that bigger change was needed than I could bring as a union rep. That’s why I’m now standing to be your Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne.
Policies made in Westminster must be rooted in real life. But too often that's not the case.
I have seen how hard my Grandma had to work for so little, I have brought up a family on low pay, and I have represented thousands of working people who want to get on in life.
With your support, I will bring a much needed dose of common sense and real life experience to the House of Commons.