The thing I’m proudest of in this time as a ward councillor was completing the programme to replace the almost-derelict Orlit prefabs with just under 300 new homes on our estate. Rose Hill is a much better place to live now – because of the new housing, because of the efforts of our neighbourhood police team and PCSOs to cut crime, and because of the efforts of the whole community to change what people thought about our area.
I was also a member of Oxford City Council’s cabinet – as an opposition member without portfolio 2006-8, and then as lead member for regeneration 2008-12. I was proud to serve on the first Living Wage council in the UK and to have championed increased funding for debt and welfare advice. As an executive member, I led the programme to refurbish every play area in the city and vastly increased activities for young people.
Oxford City Council under a Labour administration since 2008 was completely transformed from a poor value poor performing authority to one that really is delivering world-class services for everyone. Whether it be building a new swimming pool and new community centres, getting tough on rogue landlords and poor quality housing, building homes for local families or reducing carbon emissions, Oxford City Council delivers for its residents.
In 2010, it was one of my proudest moments to have been part of the team that secured the re-election of our brilliant Labour MP, Andrew Smith, in Oxford East. Working together, we won a 6.5% increase in the Labour vote and spoke to more than 40,000 electors in six months, taking up local people’s concerns and making change – showing that we really are Oxford Labour: on your side.
I’ve volunteered at elections in Croydon, Westminster, Southampton and Reading as well as in Oxford, and I’ve travelled to a number of by-elections too. In 2015, I was proud to volunteer for the brilliant Vicky Groulef in Reading West in the last weeks of the campaign.
I stood for Parliament in 2005 in Oxford West and Abingdon, maintaining Labour’s strong third place finish and losing just 1% of the 2001 vote.