I was born in Tredegar in 1970. Following comprehensive school, I went to Cambridge University to study modern languages, and since 1996 I’ve been married to Helle, the former Social Democrat Prime Minister of Denmark, who I met when I won a scholarship to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. We have two lovely daughters: Johanna and Camilla.
I’ve been a Labour party member since I was 15 years old, joining at the height of the Thatcher Government and as the miners’ strike gripped the country. Seeing the impact a Tory government had on our communities I knew only Labour represented my deeply held core values of fairness, community and opportunity for all.
I’m also a member of Community Union, Unison and the Co-operative Party.
Away from politics
I’m a big sports fan and enjoy following football and rugby. I’m a keen runner and enjoying taking part in the Richard Burton 10K in Cwmafan, and I regularly play or the parliamentary football team. I also enjoy going to the gym and reading. I’ve also been known to take part in the Aberavon Green Stars Annual Round The Pier Swim!
Life before parliament
I have in-depth experience of business and of working internationally, having spent over twenty years working in the private sector. I have lived and worked in Brussels, Russia, Sierra Leone and Switzerland. I speak five languages fluently. I’ve worked at the World Economic Forum, the British Council and Xynteo.
MP for Aberavon
I was proud to be elected MP for Aberavon in 2015 and have made my home in Baglan. Since my election I’ve been a highly visible MP, taking part in community activities like the Neath Port Talbot Hospital Fete, Aberavon Beach Festival, Baglan Summer Fete, the Beast of Bryn, Cwmafan Fest, and the River Afan Festival.
I’m also a firm believer that an MP must be pro-active, so I’ve been actively reaching out and engaging with communities and individuals right across the constituency. Apart from my regular surgeries and coffee mornings I hold an annual Funding Fair, Divided Views, Common Future: A Discussion on Brexit, Great Get Together, and public meetings on the proposed prison in Port Talbot and pensions for women born in the 1950s.
I’ve also been involved in several high-profile campaigns such as Junction 41, the proposed prison in Port Talbot, Cymmer pool, save our libraries campaigns for Taibach, Briton Ferry, Baglan, Skewen and Cwmafan, and the Save Our Steel campaign, which included flying to Mumbai for crunch talks.
The steelworks is the beating heart of our community, and I’ve made it one of my priorities in Parliament. I’ve led calls for the government to agree the steel sector deal, cut energy prices for steel producers, tackle Chinese dumping and establish a patriotic procurement policy that give British steelworkers a fair shot.
I’m doing all I can to ensure we deliver a Brexit that works for Aberavon and that has all our best interests at heart, I believe that is Common Market 2.0. I’m also calling on Westminster to replicate all current funding for Wales after Brexit.
My top priority is to be a strong voice for the people of Aberavon.