I am proud to have represented Worsley – which became Worsley and Eccles South – since 2005. I was re-elected for the fifth time in 2019. I have held Ministerial roles while Labour was in Government and Shadow Ministerial roles while in Opposition.
As your MP I play an active role in the constituency and in Parliament, and I have offices in both places. I regularly raise issues affecting my constituents with Government Ministers. If you are a constituent in Worsley and Eccles South and you need support you can get in touch with my team by going to Contact Barbara.
I was brought up in Leeds and attended Mount St Mary’s College before completing a BA degree in Politics and Contemporary History at Salford University.
My early career was in the Information Technology Industry, working as a Systems Engineer and then as a Systems Engineering Manager for IBM. I served as a Councillor for 9 years in Trafford where I was Council cabinet member for Education and Services for Children and Young People, responsible for a budget of over £100 million. I also worked as an adviser on community regeneration projects across Greater Manchester and as an advisor to a national charity for carers, for whom I co-wrote three national reports on carers’ issues.
My work as an MP in Worsley and Eccles South
Along with working to improve life for carers and trying to increase the number of girls and women taking part in a sport or fitness activity, I work on many local campaigns on behalf of my constituents in Worsley and Eccles South.
I care deeply about the protection of the local Green Belt and green open spaces. I campaigned successfully against the continued extraction of peat at Chat Moss. I fought alongside local residents to try to protect many areas of land from inappropriate development including the land at Burgess Farm in Walkden and Broadoak in Worsley and more recently against development proposed at Irlam (on Chat Moss) and on the land ‘East of Boothstown’.
I have always campaigned with local rail groups for improvements to rail services and rail stations across the constituency, including improvements to the stations at Walkden and Irlam. I opposed the Congestion Charge and I have campaigned for improvements to local bus services since first being elected to represent Worsley in 2005. I raise issues with Transport for Greater Manchester on behalf of constituents with complaints about the reliability and capacity of local bus services.
I have always opposed proposals for exploratory drilling and fracking at Barton Moss and will continue to oppose fracking in Worsley and Eccles in the future. In 2015 I raised serious concerns about White’s Recycling Plant in Eccles and held a debate in Parliament to highlight the problems at the site. Following my intervention the Environment Agency was forced to take action to close the plant and later to ensure the site was cleared.
I am a Trustee of the Salford Families in Need Project which provides food and support to families and individuals, supported by the Bread and Butter Thing, from its hub at Barton Moss Primary School. I also support the work of local foodbanks and volunteer at foodbank collections at Tesco Walkden whenever I can.
I was elected as the MP for Worsley in May 2005. After that election the boundaries of the constituency changed to include part of Eccles and it was re-named Worsley and Eccles South, where I was elected in 2010 and re-elected in May 2015, June 2017 and again in December 2019.
At the upcoming election, Worsley and Eccles South will be split into two new constituencies: Bolton South & Walkden and Worsley & Eccles. The wards of Walkden South, Walkden North and Little Hulton will become part of Bolton South and Walkden, and all remaining wards will form part of Worsley and Eccles, alongside the wards of Astley and parts of Tyldesley and Mosley Common from the former Leigh constituency. I am the Labour Candidate for Worsley and Eccles at the next General Election, but I continue to represent residents in Walkden and Little Hulton until a General Election is called.
I am a member of the GMB union and the Cooperative Party.
My work in Westminster
I currently undertake the role of Shadow Minister for Music and Tourism. In this role it is my job to listen to the needs of the Music and Tourism industries and to challenge the Conservative Government when these needs are not being met. This includes speaking at conferences, attending roundtables, writing to Ministers and asking questions on the floor of the House of Commons. I have held this role since September 2023, previously acting as Shadow Minister for the Arts and Civil Society since February 2022.
I have served in other frontbench roles in Opposition, including in the Shadow Cabinet from 2016 to 2020 as Shadow Minister for Social Care then Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care. Before that I held roles as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Communities and Shadow Local Government Minister, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers.
When Labour was in Government I served in various roles from 2005-2010. I served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Assistant Government Whip. Earlier I was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Harriet Harman as Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equalities an PPS to Jim Murphy MP as Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform and Minister for the Cabinet Office.
Beyond my frontbench roles, I continue to advocate for my constituents and for campaigns which I am passionate about.
For example, I have campaigned for the rights of unpaid family carers for many years. As a backbench MP, I was vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carers and led debates on improving the quality of services to support carers. In 2007 I was appointed by Gordon Brown to lead the Labour Party’s manifesto work on Social Care and in 2008 I was awarded the Charity Champions Social Welfare Award for helping to make sure carers voices are heard in Parliament. I have introduced three Private Members Bills in Parliament to improve support for carers.
I have also served on the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee between 2020 and 2022, and on the Commons Health Select Committee between 2011 and 2015. In this role I pushed for an inquiry into the inappropriate detention of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in inpatient units. I also chair a cross-party group of MPs and Peers on this issue.
You can see my latest contributions in Parliament here.