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 adviser to a national charity for carers, for whom I co-wrote three national reports on carers’ issues.
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.
I was elected as the MP for Worsley and Eccles South in May 2015 and re-elected in May 2015 and again in June 2017.
I am a member of the GMB union.
My work in Westminster
My main policy interests are Social Care and improving the quality of life for carers and young carers and removing barriers for women and girls in sport.
I am the Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and Social Care. In this role, I campaign for improvements in mental health and social care services and for improved support and recognition for carers.
I am co-chair (with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson) of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport and Fitness. In 2012 my work in Parliament to promote women’s sport was recognised as I received a Sports Parliamentarian of the Year award.
I was also a founding member and elected as the first Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s State Pension Inequality. This cross-party group of MPs was set up to raise the profile of the issues that many 1950s-born women are now experiencing as a result of unfair changes to the State Pension Age brought in by the Government in 2011.
Previous roles in Westminster
September 2015 to June 2016 – Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers
May 2015 to September 2015 – Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury
2011 to 2015 – Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls MP
2011 to 2015 – Member of the Commons Health Select Committee
October 2010 to October 2011 – Shadow Communities and Local Government Minister
May 2010 to October 2010 – Shadow Health Minister and Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
June 2009 to May 2010 – Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
September 2008 and May 2009 – Assistant Government Whip
June 2007 –Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman
February 2006 – Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Cabinet Office
2006 to 2007 – Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jim Murphy MP at the Department of Work and Pensions
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 June 2007, I was appointed by Gordon Brown to lead the Labour Party’s manifesto work on Social Care. I was Parliamentary Champion for Carers week in 2007. At the end of 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.
Barbara’s work 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.
I have always campaigned with local rail groups for improvements to rail services and rail stations across the constituency. I opposed the Congestion Charge and campaigned for improvements to local bus services since first being elected to represent Worsley in 2005.
I continue to hold Highways England to account for their over-scheduled works on the M60 Smart Motorway and specifically called for action following residents’ complaints about the unbearable noise and vibrations from late night works on the scheme.
I held many meetings with Transport for Greater Manchester and Balfour Beatty during the construction of the Leigh Guided Busway which impacted my constituents badly. I helped residents on Hindburn Drive and New City secure screening foliage for their homes from the intrusion of the new bus route.
I have always opposed proposals for exploratory drilling and fracking at Barton Moss and will continue to oppose fracking in Worsley and Eccles South 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 her intervention the Environment Agency was forced to take action to close the plant and later to ensure the site was cleared.
I support the work of the Trussell Trust foodbank on Cleggs Lane in Little Hulton and I volunteer at foodbank collections at Tesco Walkden whenever I can.