About

My Family

My wife Pam and I have raised our children in the constituency – and they still visit us regularly with their children, too!  Having children and now grandchildren makes me feel even more acutely the need to give them the very best future possible by fighting to save our fragile planet from the growing climate crisis.

Increasingly, there is a need to remind people that there have been many waves of immigration to this country that have been of great benefit – my own family would not have survived religious persecution in France 200 years ago – Britain offered a safe haven for them then, and remains a haven for many people persecuted today for their religious beliefs, their sexuality or their political convictions.

Britain is an inclusive, welcoming place at its very best – but we must work together to keep it that way. Huddersfield is home to many minority groups that have suffered oppression across the world, and I will continue to fight for people’s rights at home and abroad.

I am proud to represent such a dynamic, diverse and vibrant town and through continued efforts, we will make it even better.

My Work

During my time in Parliament I have been Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills from 2001 – 2007, and Chair of the Children, Schools and Families Committee from 2007-2010.  I am passionate about education and the rights of children and young people.  I also chair the Skills Commission which has recently led a series of major inquiries on the skills needs of the next generation.

I look back proudly on the achievements that Labour delivered in Government – from Building Schools for the Future to the creation of Sure Start Centres; however, we cannot rely on past success. We have to move forward.  I believe we need to focus on creating the jobs of the future and ensuring that our young people have the skills to do these jobs and progress in their careers. I am also deeply proud of spearheading the legislation which made it illegal to carry children unrestrained in cars.

I have worked extensively in the areas of autism and neurological divergence, education and skills, sustainability and environment, employment, manufacturing, justice reform and persecuted peoples abroad.

I ALWAYS put Huddersfield first. I consistently and passionately fight for the families of my constituency and advocate for their continued health, welfare and prosperity.

Political Achievements

  • 2001-2007 Chair, House of Commons Education & Skills Select Committee
  • 2007-2010 Chair, House of Commons Children, Schools & Families Committee
  • Chair, Skills Commission
  • Top 10 most active MPs, participating in debates, asking parliamentary questions, speaking up for Huddersfield
  • Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
  • Co-Char of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sustainable Research
  • Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Miscarriage of Justice
  • Founder of over 50 social enterprises
  • Founder of dynamic think tank Policy Connect.