Rachel is the Member of Parliament for Leeds West and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Elected in May 2010, she is the first female MP to represent a seat in Leeds since Alice Bacon, who served between 1945 and 1970. Rachel was previously Shadow Pensions Minister, from October 2010 - October 2011.
In Leeds West, Rachel has worked hard to continue the community work pioneered by her predecessor, John Battle MP. She has led the fight to save local swimming pool Bramley Baths, successfully argued for better bus services in the constituency and lobbied for the future of Kirkstall Forge.
Rachel brings a wealth of experience to her role. She is patron of Bramley Elderly Action, and has sat on the board of Bramley and Rodley Community Action and the Leeds Healthy Living Network. Prior to her election, she was a governor at Kirkstall Valley Primary School and Leeds West Academy. Rachel is currently writing a biography of Alice Bacon, and spends her spare time swimming, reading and travelling.
Rachel joined the Labour Party at age 16, motivated by her experiences of an education in a state school under the Thatcher and Major governments, and with a determination to be part of a movement which would fight to bring about a positive change for the future. While at school she was appalled by the cutting of extra-curricular activities such as music and sports, the lack of textbooks and resources for the pupils to use, the scrapping of special needs teaching and the conversion of the school’s libraries into classrooms to cope with oversized classes.
Rachel went on to earn a place at New College, Oxford, to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After completing her undergraduate studies, she went on to obtain a master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.
Before becoming an MP, Rachel worked as an economist for the Bank of England, the British Embassy in Washington and at Halifax Bank of Scotland. She is a regular commentator on economic matters and a strong critic of the current Government’s policy.