I was born in and grew up on an inner city council estate in Birmingham. I left school at the age of 16 and worked as a sheet metal worker in the local factory. I later began working in my local hospital as a porter and I went on to train as an Operating Department Assistant. I worked for the NHS for 14 years.
When I was 26 I went to night school while working full time in the operating theatre. I did my A-Levels went to University and later became an international human rights lawyer.
I am a founding member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, which is one of the fastest growing organisations within the party. At Labour conference we generally have the largest attended receptions with leaders of the Party giving important speeches on Labour party foreign policy.
At University I was Chair of the University Labour students and founder of the Inns of Court Labour students. I stood for parliament in 2005, in Wantage (a safe Tory seat) where I ran an energetic and high profile campaign. In 2009 and 2013, I was part of the first Labour Party slate to stand for election in the City of London campaigning to break the Tory monopoly of power in the City.
I am the director of the London Innocence Project – an organisation that aims is to help those who have been wrongly convicted of crimes.
I also have international experience of defending people working with prisoners on death row. I have lectured in International Tribunals in The Hague and have written widely on the Middle East and human rights.
I have appeared in the national media including Newsnight, Sky, Today Programme and Radio 2. I have also debated and lectured in a number of universities across the UK.
In 2008 I stood to be the Treasure of the Labour party. I was a member of the Executive Board of Tribune and I regularly write articles for the magazine.