I was born in Manchester in 1967 and grew up initially in Moss Side, then Burnage finally settling in Withington when my mother, after years on the Council waiting, list finally was granted our first. home. She was the daughter of my Irish born grandmother and English grandfather. My father left at an early age abandoning two sons and a wife. He too was abandoned by his parents a black American and mother of Jewish ancestry.
My grandparents were pivotal in my life as we all lived together in one house, when I attended my primary school St Bernards, they were there when my mother had to work long hours to support us. All were behind the view that despite our area, our background the stigma of a single mother and the fact I was of mixed race origin if I studied hard, worked, saved and kept positive our country offered the chance to better our lives. Family, work, education all helped me win a scholarship to Bede's Roman Catholic Independent College. There my education continued due to amazing teachers like, Mr Joe Bowden, who encouraged me to fight on when at times it seemed too hard. The schools faith and catholic values fortified me to eventually gain a university place to study law Aberystwyth University Thereafter, I studied to become a barrister, was granted scholarships by Inner temple and called to the Bar. I left to become a lawyer in the City of London law firms, then in compliance roles in financial institutions like UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, eventually becoming General Council to a hedge fund and chairing the Hedge Fund Lawyers Association.
I have always been interested in politics. My background taught me the inequities of society exist but the vehicles of change and hope surround us. Those vehicles of change such as education, health provision and employment are all impacted by the decisions of government, their people and policy decisions. They are also impacted by the people through the vote and democracy. Freedom matters and freedom to choose, debate, argue, live should be guaranteed to the people.
In 2007 I became interested again in politics, particular the impact on the freedom of people to elect politicians on mandates that were set out by what they do and they must do it. In my opinion this peoples mandate had been eroded by our membership of the European Union and that our own British politicians were disguising this. So in 2010 I joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the only party then campaigning for the British people to have a referendum on our membership of that political organisation.
I served the party as a front bench Spokesman in three roles of City of London Spokesman, Financial Affairs and also the key Migration portfolio. I was elected to the NEC, Policy Team and in 2014 elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England. In October 2016, I resigned my membership and sit as an Independent MEP.
During the momentous 2016 United Kingdom Referendum on leaving the European Union fortunately played a key role in the debate and in particular helped lead on the crucial issue of Immigration. I campaigned across the country speaking in over 30 towns and cities with Vote Leave, Leave. Eu and Grassroots Out. During the campaign making hundreds of speeches, debating political opponents on TV and radio, knocking on doors, battle buses and high street campaigning I was always excited and enthused by the energy the referendum brought to ordinary people being given their chance to voice their opinions after 40 years. I knew our Leave side would win, because the people wanted it.
I have founded the think tank the Centre for Migration and Economic Prosperity, CMEP, to continue arguing for a positive view of immigration that is open and welcoming but considers the need of the nation states inhabitants through sensible controlled immigration policies
People matter. Policies matter. Politics matters. Family and friends matter more. I am very lucky to have a wide supportive family of mother, brothers and sister, my partner and daughter. They are all key to me. My over loves are gardening, cooking and writing.