I live in Llanelli and have been privileged to be Labour MP for the Llanelli constituency since 2005.
Before becoming an MP, I worked for some twenty years in local comprehensive schools, as a foreign language teacher and Estyn inspector. Outside the classroom, as a keen hill-walker and cyclist, I also took pupils on Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions, as well as being very active in the local community, helping establish a local youth club and Women’s Aid group.
During my first parliamentary term (2005 – 2010), when Labour was in Government, I served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, working on issues including the Climate Change Bill, the Marine Bill and flooding. I then became PPS to Harriet Harman MP and supported her work as Leader of the House of Commons, Minister for Women and Equalities and Acting Leader of the Labour Party.
Since 2010 Labour has been in opposition, and I have been part of our shadow front bench team, firstly as a shadow business minister, with responsibility for consumer affairs, employment law and opposing the privatisation of the Royal Mail and then as Shadow Wales Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales. I was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Defence in October 2016 and served in that role until April 2020 before becoming Shadow Secretary of State for Wales until November 2021.
I link my parliamentary work very directly with the interests and concerns of my constituents, and combine action through legislation and questioning ministers in Parliament with a very hands-on approach to problems in the constituency.