My Dad was a shift worker at ICI after he was a tank driver in the Army. I learned my socialism from my Mam. She managed to work part time and study at Sunderland Polytechnic to become a youth worker, all while raising 4 kids.
She went on to be women’s officer for Cleveland County Council, a union shop steward, and chair of the Women’s Refuge from Domestic Violence.
I grew up in Thatcher’s Britain, and saw the devastation of communities blighted when work disappeared. I joined the Labour Party at 15, during the Miners’ Strike.
I grew up on Teesside. I left school at 16, in the depths of the Thatcher recession, and worked in low paid jobs. I was a nurse at Hartlepool general, until I was seriously injured playing football, and was on crutches for months.
I went to Northumbria University to study engineering as a mature student, working part time to pay my way.
My younger brother and I were the first in our family to go to university. In those days, there were no tuition fees. My older brother served in the Royal Navy, and my sister is a health care assistant in the NHS.
I worked in Blyth as an engineer making breathing apparatus. After university, I worked as a project engineer.
I was a project manager and company director in the electronics and IT sector. I used to do large company integrations, and know how to work with business. I know how to manage teams – set a clear vision, and treat people with trust and respect.
I went on set up my own business, and was a company director of a software development firm.
When my wife and I had kids, I became a stay-at-home Dad, so she could continue her career. I live in Newcastle with my wife, who is an NHS doctor. We have two young sons, Leon and Nelson, awesome little socialists who come and help their Dad leaflet.
I’m a Labour & Cooperative councillor in Monument ward, Newcastle city centre, and love the diversity of people there. I joined the TGWU in 1986, and am now a Unite member.
I was a very active volunteer for Tyne & Wear Anti-Fascist Association (TWAFA). I campaigned as a volunteer against far right groups including the BNP and Combat 18. This included case work with mixed race couples and BAME families targeted for violence.
I want a Labour government that will fully renationalise the NHS, railways and utilities, and postal service. I want to see all funding restored to the emergency services.
I want local authorities to be able to set up schools again, and an end to tuition fees.
I want us to end insecure work, and to build homes that people can actually afford.
I’m so pleased that we’ve pledged to ban fracking and support the 1 million climate jobs campaign. We need to stop the opencast mining at Druridge Bay and tackle climate change for the emergency it is.
I want an end to arms sales to oppressive regimes. I’m a member of Greenpeace and Amnesty International.
I want an economy that’s democratically owned – more cooperatives and other forms of employee owned companies. I’m a member of the Co-op Party.
I worked as a volunteer on both of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaigns.
I’m committed to grassroots activism. I’ve run campaigns and political education groups, and have co-authored a book about grassroots activism.
I was with the inspirational group of comrades who created the World Transformed Festival. I set up and ran the massively successful People, Pits & Politics Festival in Durham.
I know socialist economics inside out. I run a reading group on it, and am an advocate of community wealth building.
I’m working up my polices with advice from leading think-tanks, and people already putting socialist ownership models into practice.
The wealth that is created by ordinary working people should be used for the benefit of ordinary working people. This is what I’m working on as Mayor.
I was elected Metro Mayor of North of Tyne Combined Authority on 3rd May 2019. I’m committed to driving forward my manifesto pledges around community wealth building, addressing the climate emergency, revitalising life in local communities, building affordable homes and delivering lifelong learning to the people of North of Tyne.
I want a socialist Labour government. But even if we still have work to do at a national level, we can make a start. In fact we already have. Keep up to date on what I’m up to on social media and my blog.