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a local candidate creating change

Colchester parent, academic, city councillor, local champion & broadcaster
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I am very pleased to have been selected as the
Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Colchester



I was brought up in Southend in a family dedicated to public service. My mum had been a midwife in the East End before becoming a nurse, health visitor and then a Community Health Lead. My dad left school at 15 and was apprenticed as a joiner before joining the church and becoming a minister. They had grown up in hardship and felt it their duty to step up and gave back. They were pragmatic and principled, and they passed on those values to their children.


Both my sisters became nurses in south Essex. One is now a diabetes specialist, the other now co-leads a food bank. I went to university, did a PhD and became an academic. I’ve specialised in the history of marginalised women and girls and their treatment by the criminal justice and care systems. I’ve always been committed to using my research to promote social justice. 


In recent years I’ve advised the Victims Commissioner on the code of victims’ rights, worked with Colchester City Council on tackling the causes of anti-social behaviour, and evaluated the work of Hertfordshire Police on so-called ‘honour-based violence’ against women. I was a lay member of the Suffolk Family Justice Panel for several years and I worked with local authorities and third sector organisations to develop new services for mothers in Ipswich whose babies had been taken into care. I’m proud to say that other services inspired by that work have since been rolled out across the country.


I’ve also presented two BBC television series on labour history: one on servants and another on shopgirls. I was very pleased to be able to tell the stories of women who are so often ignored in standard accounts of the past.


Elected as a councillor in May 2021, I see my role as driving change. I helped the Labour Group and local party develop a manifesto ahead of this year’s local elections. I’ve pushed for revisions in our local economic strategy to bring growth and jobs to Colchester. In my role as Portfolio-holder for Culture and Heritage I pressed for our excellent cultural institutions to work together to attract more visitors to Colchester. I want our new city status to deliver prosperity for our people.

As a ward councillor, I've worked with Cllr Kayleigh Rippingale and Cllr Sam McLean on the 'Reclaim the Folleys' campaign, tackling the causes of anti-social behaviour in public spaces, supporting community gardens, allotments and orchards and reviving the New Town youth club.


In short, I have a proven track record in creating progressive change. I want to take that to national level and co-create change in Colchester.

My local supporters include:

Pauline Bacon

Community Councillor, UNISON & LGBTQ activist

Catherine Bickersteth

Educational Consultant & Colchester CLP BAME Officer

Sarah Bruce

Local Activist, Colchester West Branch

Abbie Chambers

Colchester CLP Disability Officer

Carlene Cornish

Colchester resident & Co-Chair Tackling Racism Taskforce, UEA

Cathy Crawford

Former UCU branch chair, University of Essex

Neil D'Arcy-Jones

Theatre director & writer

Nicola Davey

Greenstead community organiser

Scott Edmonds

Teacher, and NEU member

Kevin Finnigan

Chair of Colchester Fabians & Colchester Food Bank Volunteer

Tony Gardner

Actor & Equity executive member

Rod Green

Former Labour Parliamentary candidate

Beth Holford

Treasurer, Colchester CLP West Branch

Brian Hooper

Former National Executive Council member, FBU

Ben Howard

Founder, Keep Colchester Cool

Alison Inman

Co-founder, SHOUT social housing campaign

Charlie Jasper

Teacher and NEU rep

Dorian Kelly

Arts & culture consultant

Sheila Kelly

Former head teacher

Syd Kent

Former Chair, Colchester Trades Council

Cllr Sam McLean

Borough Councillor, New Town & Christ Church ward

Jordan Newell

Former Labour Parliamentary candidate

Pete Newell

Trustee, Colchester Night Shelter & Volunteer, Migrant Action

Jim Pey

Former Deputy Principal, Colchester Sixth Form College

Jan Plummer

Secretary, Essex Unite Community

Cllr Kayleigh Rippingale

Borough Councillor, New Town & Christ Church ward

Louise Sears

Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Ray Sharp

Trustee, Greenstead community organisation

Rev David Thomas

Former Rector of Wivenhoe

Cllr Martyn Warnes

Borough Councillor, Berechurch ward

Cllr Tim Young

Borough Councillor, Greenstead ward

Souzan Yousif

Founder, Bridgeway Mission for refugee families

Why I want to be your MP


Working for Colchester

Campaigning and creating change

Colchester badly needs a Labour MP and a Labour government to deliver social justice for a country divided by a decade of Tory misrule. We need decent investment in our public services and decent treatment for the people who work in them. We need a dynamic, sustainable economy that shares the benefits of green growth.


Workers’ rights & wellbeing

​I stand for:

  • Strong unions to win fair pay, contracts and conditions

  • Enforcement of laws and regulations to protect non-unionised workers

  • Working with unions and trades councils to promote union membership

  • Green economic development to bring secure, well-paid jobs to Colchester

Health & social care

​​I stand for:

  • A National Care Service to bring high standards and decent conditions for carers and those they care for

  • An end to NHS privatisation and a return to the core principles of free healthcare

  • Fair pay and conditions for all NHS employees and contractors

  • Better access to GPs, dentists and primary healthcare


​​I stand for:

  • An end to central government restrictions on council house building

  • Support for renters unions to challenge bad landlord and letting agent practices

  • Tougher measures to improve the performance of social housing providers

  • Government support for safe, warm homes fuelled by green energy

Climate emergency

​​I stand for:

  • A 'green new deal' to decarbonise the economy and generate sustainable, inclusive growth

  • Convening a 'Colchester Climate Commission' to to tackle the climate emergency

  • Promoting community energy solutions to end fuel poverty


​​I stand for:

  • Bringing railways back into public ownership and lowering fares

  • Affordable, accessible and reliable public transport to revitalise our city centre, improve journeys to work and increase access to public services

  • Safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists across the whole of Colchester


​​I stand for:

  • Strengthening Colchester’s proud record as a
    ‘City of Sanctuary’ for refugees & asylum seekers

  • Improving opportunities for working parents by increasing nursery and childcare places

  • Widening participation in employment, education and training

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