What the papers say...
My key priorities
As well campaigning for a wider Yorkshire devolution deal my top priorities as mayor will be to:
- Negotiate with the Government to get the Sheffield City Region the best possible deal in terms of powers and funding.
- Use those powers to designate bus services as community assets and work with local authorities to take bus provision back into public ownership.
- Support the appointment of a female Deputy Mayor and a gender-balanced combined authority.
Attract new investment and well-paid jobs to the Sheffield City Region and ensure that our people have the skills and training to do them.
- Establish a Mayor’s Community Fund, which will include the entirety of my mayoral salary, to back region wide initiatives focussed on: fighting child poverty, helping the homeless, and improving our environment.
My key policy ideas
- Ensure subsidised bus routes to some of the harder-to-reach towns and villages in the region and introduce special concessionary schemes for students, apprentices and adults helping their children get to school.
- Support the establishment of new, not-for-profit and co-operative bus services to ensure greater staff and passenger involvement in decision-making.
- Dedicate a proportion of the Mayor’s Community Fund to providing opportunities for children and young people from our most deprived communities to access museums, theatres, sports events and other cultural activities.
You can also watch more about my campaign to end child poverty here.
Establish a Youth Combined Authority which will meet regularly with the mayor. It will be representative of the four local authorities that make up the city region, gender-balanced and reflecting the full diversity of the city region.
- Develop a Sheffield City Region Employers’ Charter which sets out basic standards for good business, such as addressing the pay gap between men and women, encouraging flexible working and paying a living wage.
Guarantee a living wage of £8.45 per hour for all employees of the Sheffield City Region and all those we contract to deliver projects and services and will minimise the use of agency staff and zero-hours contracts.
- Create a Sheffield City Region Ethical Care Charter to set out standards for social care in the city region and require care workers to be paid the living wage and end exploitative zero-hours contracts.
- Develop a scheme to provide incentives to local tradesmen to support initiatives to help older people to live independently in their own homes.
I will fight for the UK to remain in the Customs Union to protect businesses in the region who depend on ties with the EU, and defend the rights of EU citizens who are already living and working in Sheffield City Region.
I will also continue to campaign for The Sheffield City Region’s fair share of the proposed Shared Prosperity Fund and work with the universities to protect research funding so that we do not lose out when European funding comes to an end.
- Work with Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency to develop a plan to prevent flooding, prepare communities for it, and protect homes and businesses from damage.
Negotiate the first Local Energy Devolution Deal with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The deal will offer to cut carbon emissions through wide-ranging energy efficiency and micro-generation measures in return for Sheffield City Region’s share of specific energy funds currently controlled by central government. Then use the proceeds of the deal to create a Mayor’s Community Energy Fund which will be used to invest in widespread energy efficiency measures, supporting community energy and micro-generation schemes and investing in new technologies to manage energy consumption, and provide additional support for the elderly to insulate their homes and reduce their energy bills.
- Work with the four local authorities to develop a ‘Clean Streets Co-operative’ social enterprise to target graffiti, fly tipping and local litter and introduce an Air Quality Action Plan for the whole city region.
- Support The Community Forest Trust and The Woodland Trust’s proposal to create a Northern Forest and will develop a plan to ensure that 1 million trees are planted in the Sheffield City Region to make our towns and cities greener and our city region more attractive and sustainable; committing a proportion of the Mayoral Community Fund towards this important cause.
- Introduce an Equalities Scrutiny Committee to work alongside the Combined Authority to ensure that all the activities set out in my manifesto are working to make our city region more inclusive.
- I will also support our local WASPI women in their campaign against the unfairness in the change to the state pension age.
Support co-operative housing schemes and encourage local councils to take tough action against rogue private landlords.
- Establish a Sheffield City Region Homelessness Network and Temporary Accommodation Board to improve the condition of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and other B&Bs. Whilst also committing a proportion of my Mayor’s Community Fund to support projects which are placing homeless people in safe and secure accommodation.
If you have any questions, comments or ideas for me, then please get in touch and I will get back to you.
I am very grateful to the following organisations and people for their support of my candidacy.
Trade Unions & Labour groups:
I am proud to serve the people of Barnsley Central.
Every week I listen to the issues that people are concerned about. I meet with constituents, visit schools and offer my support to local businesses, organisations and charities where I can. I work closely with key agencies and stakeholders, talking to the people who deliver our local services and working with them to improve our community for the benefit of everyone.
I also regularly meet with regional leaders and organisations, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and Sheffield City Region, to make sure Barnsley has a voice in vital strategic decisions that will have a significant impact on the Borough, such as HS2 and devolution.
Photos above (left to right): with Royston residents campaigning against bank closure; at Yorkshire Water sewage works in Lundwood discussing flood risks; supporting junior doctors at Barnsley Hospital. Bottom photos (left to right): launching Barnsley Pals ale with local veterans at Two Roses Brewery in Darton; giving a helping hand when out campaigning with local councillors in Mapplewell; meeting workers at Barnsley sorting office during the Christmas rush.
Education and army service
I grew up in Nottingham and went to Rushcliffe Comprehensive School. I graduated from Aberystwyth University with a degree in International Politics and Strategic Studies before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. From Sandhurst I was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment and subsequently deployed to Kosovo, Northern Ireland, briefly to Sierra Leone, and on numerous occasions to Iraq and Afghanistan. My service included: Platoon Commander with 1 Para, Aide de Camp to General Sir Mike Jackson, Adjutant of 3 Para, and on promotion to Major I worked as a staff planner in the Permanent Joint Headquarters (Northwood) and then at the Army’s Headquarters (Salisbury). I also served as a Company Commander in the Special Forces Support Group (St Athan).
Elected to Parliament
In January 2011 I became the first person since World War Two to resign my commission in order to contest a Parliamentary by-election. I was elected to Parliament on 3 March 2011, increasing the majority despite the reduced turn out that comes from a by-election. I was subsequently awarded the MBE for my service in the Army, which made me the first serving MP to be decorated for military service in many years.
Working in Westminster
On entering Parliament, I sat on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee before being made a shadow minister for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. In October 2013 I was appointed as shadow minister for Justice. In June 2015, having been re-elected, again with an increased majority, I was made a shadow minister for foreign affairs. Throughout the last parliament I served as the Labour party’s lead for the 100th anniversary World War One commemorations.
I now serve on the back benches and take an interest in a broad range of issues in Parliament, including: defence and security, international development, child poverty, gender equality, education and skills, cancer, care for the elderly and vulnerable, volunteering, excess winter deaths, culture, heritage, sport and the countryside. I am the lead MP for the Speakers’ Parliamentary Placement Scheme.
Working in Barnsley
In Barnsley, I am a very active constituency MP and have worked hard to develop the profile of Barnsley. This has included working with businesses and stakeholders to support and develop the Barnsley economy – creating jobs for Barnsley people. I also campaign to raise aspiration amongst young people, and to support skills and adult literacy programmes. I am passionate about the town. Shortly after being elected, I launched the 'Proud of Barnsley' campaign. I am a vice-president of Kexborough Cricket Club, an honorary patron of the Barnsley Youth Choir and a member of the Barnsley Harriers.
Family and interests
In my limited spare time, I enjoy reading, running, hill walking, cycling and supporting Barnsley FC – all of which can be hard work at times! In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 I ran the London marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I ran again in 2017 to raise money for Barnsley Hospice. I have previously led mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas.
I live in Barnsley with my wife and three children and our dog, Pip – a mostly friendly Jack Russell Patterdale terrier cross.