I was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolton South East in the May 2010 general election, and re-elected in 2015 and 2017.
In 2007, I was selected to be the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bolton South East from an open shortlist. I left Chambers in London and moved to Bolton and practised law from Kenworthy Chambers, Manchester. At the General Election on 6 May 2010, I won with a majority of 8,634.
I was appointed Shadow Minister for International Development in April 2020.
I was the Shadow Minister for Justice from October 2016 until April 2020. My responsibilities in this role included:
- Court Services and reform
- Parliamentary matters arising from the Queen’s Speech (incl. Whiplash and Draft Domestic Violence & Abuse Bill)
- Victims (including domestic abuse)
- Supporting the Secretary of State for Justice on EU Exit & international business
- Criminal justice
- Human rights
- Family justice
- Admin, tribunal and immigration
- Coroners, burials, inquests & inquiries
- Lammy Review & Race Disparity Audit
- Law Commission
- Mental capacity and office of the Public Guardian
Prior to becoming Shadow Justice Minister, I sat on the following Select Committees:
- Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee Jan 2016 – Oct 2016
- Foreign Affairs Committee Jul 2015 – Oct 2016
- High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill (Commons) Apr 2014 – Jul 2015
- Home Affairs Committee Nov 2013 – Mar 2015
- Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee) Jul 2011 – Mar 2012
- Political and Constitutional Reform Committee Jul 2011 – Dec 2011
- Justice Committee Jul 2010 – Mar 2015
Prior to becoming MP for Bolton South East:
I obtained a BA (Hons) Law degree and completed my Barrister at Laws examinations at the Council of Legal Education. I obtained a Master of Laws at University College London.
I began my legal career with the Crown Prosecution Service as an in-house Barrister. I prosecuted on behalf of the Crown in numerous criminal cases. Later, I became a specialist casework advocate dealing with complex and sensitive cases.
(i) United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
I was the co-ordinator of the Criminal Legal Unit from 2000-2001. This involved addressing the obstacles and problems, in matters of law and practical procedure, which hindered the effective investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. To ensure these methods were successful my team of lawyers and I put into place various mechanisms: such as a duty rota of Gynaecologists who would assess rape victims, team of forensics, pathologists and doctors to look at Murder cases.
I set up a training programme to support teams of international police officers who arrived in Kosovo to support the region, to ensure that they were trained in the relevant law so that evidence could be used in court.
In my role as Head of the Criminal Legal Unit between 2001-2002, I focused on analysing the legal system within Kosovo to identify shortcomings within laws and, in particular, to address problems such as the trafficking of persons, domestic violence etc. I assisted in drafting in the UNMIK regulations and provisions for safe houses for women who had been trafficked, access to legal free legal service, mental health regulations and children rights.
In addition to this I was involved in the drafting of the Kosovo Penal code and in particular the chapter on Humanitarian Law.
I liaised and worked with KFOR – armies across the region.
I then became the Director of the Department of Judicial Administration. This department’s responsibility was to ensure that the courts, prosecutors and investigation judges’ offices were administered and monitored properly.
(ii) Post- Kosovo
In late 2002, I returned to the UK and rejoined the Crown Prosecution Service at policy headquarters in the role of policy adviser. I was then selected to be the Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Brent East and left the CPS.
I joined the chambers at 2 Kings Bench Walk, Temple where i practiced in the area of general common law.
(iii) Legal Voluntary Work
As a law student, I volunteered for the Free Representation Unit, representing individuals in tribunals. From 1993-2000, I volunteered as a legal adviser for South Law Centre one evening a week and also helped to raise funding for the centre. From 2004-2008, I was a Human Rights Adviser to the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. I worked on issues relating to economic and civil rights, and also campaigned against the Anti-terrorism legislation with London Authority.
(iv) Non legal Voluntary
I was a Governor of Laurence Hains School from 1984-1987, where I helped to set up a unit for children with general and specific learning difficulties,
I was then a Governor of West Herts College, the 10th largest further education institution, from 1990-2000 and I was a member of the Personnel Committee and the Finance and General Purpose Committee. I was also involved in the top to bottom restructuring of the college.
I was a Governor of Park Avenue School and of Kensal Rise Primary School in Brent
I have lived with my family in Bolton since 2007. I do not have a second home and do not claim expenses for London Accommodation.