I was first elected as the MP for Doncaster North in May 2005. I served as Minister for the Cabinet Office under Gordon Brown in 2007 and then as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2008 to 2010. In this role, I oversaw the introduction of the Climate Change Act 2008 which made it the Government’s duty to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions reduced by at least 80% by 2050 in order to avoid dangerous climate change. From 2010 to 2015, I served as the Leader of the Labour Party in opposition. I am currently the Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero.
In 2016, along with the BBC, I investigated the practices of rent-to-own companies, such as Brighthouse, who have since been ordered to pay £14.8 million in compensation following the firm’s ‘irresponsible lending’. Changes were introduced in 2019, as a direct result of the campaign, which limit the amount of interest the rent-to-own sector can charge.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, I served as a Commissioner for Shelter’s Social Housing Commission. The Commission published its final report in 2019. The report recommended a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes. It also called for a stronger voice for tenants and a new regulator working across social and private rental sectors to protect residents and enforce standards.
I am currently serving as a co-Chair to IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission and the Chair of Doncaster’s Climate Change Commission. Both Commissions will help to develop ideas and policies to bring about a rapid green transition that is fair and just.
As well as my Parliamentary work, I am the co-host of popular current affairs podcast ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’. I am married to Justine and we have two young sons. In my spare time, I enjoy watching baseball and football, and I am a big fan of both the Boston Red Sox and Leeds United.