The Labour MEP candidates for the North West region are Theresa Griffin, Julie Ward, Wajid Khan, Erica Lewi, Dave Brennan, Claire Cozle, Saf Ismai and Yvonne Tennant.
Theresa was elected to the European Parliament in 2014. She is a member of two Committees and three Delegations in the European Parliament.
Theresa’s parliamentary work centres on fuel poverty, energy security, regional funding, equalities, industrial strategy, universities, health research and the promotion of a digital single market.
Theresa received the 2017 Energy MEP of the Year award for her work promoting renewable energy and energy poverty reduction policies across Europe.
Prior to becoming an MEP, Theresa was a Regional Organiser for Unison and a Liverpool City Councillor, where she was instrumental in bringing billions of pounds of European investment to Liverpool city region.
Julie was elected to European Parliament in 2014. Julie is Labour’s spokesperson on the culture and education committee and is a member of the women’s rights and gender equality committee.
Prior to being elected as an MEP, Julie previously had a long career in the cultural sector, working with marginalised communities using arts as a tool for well-being, empowerment and social change.
Julie had been working with partners in the EU and beyond for more than a decade. She was involved in an international delegation to Belfast to participate in a discussion about the role of the arts in peace-building processes.
Wajid became a North West MEP in 2017. His main policy interests include workers’ rights, youth empowerment and human rights and he is the member of four committees including foreign affairs and security and defence.
Before becoming an MEP, Wajid was a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire for 12 years, and a course leader in community leadership for 11 years.
Wajid developed higher education programmes to increase academic participation amongst women in the south Asian community. Prior to this, he worked with young offenders and taught education programmes for homeless young people. He was also a local councillor in Burnley.
For 25 years Erica has been a union, labour, and community activist working & volunteering with non-government organisations, and working as a civil servant and ministerial advisor.
Erica is currently a Lecturer at Edge Hill University and a Lancashire County Councillor based in Lancaster. Before moving to the UK, Erica was an advisor to the Australian Government, leading on higher education issues.
She has developed the skills to be an advocate for people the system is failing, to understand why systems fail and how they can be changed to serve those they were meant to.
Dave is a specialist in skills and employment support for adults and young people and has worked in government, education and local authority settings during his career. Dave has worked in every sub-region of the North West.
He currently runs a small consultancy company advising Local Enterprise Partnerships and Combined Authorities on skills.
He has held leadership roles for over 25 years and has extensive experience and skills in partnership working. As a member of Labour’s sister party, the Cooperative Party, he knows that we can all do better if we support local cooperation.
Claire has worked and volunteered in training and education in various settings.
She has worked with many marginalised communities on theatre, education, arts and wellbeing projects, including with BAME communities in London, Rochdale and Bradford, and the LGBTQA community in Manchester.
Claire lived and worked in France for seven years so has a strong connection to and understanding of Europe. Claire is currently a Lancaster City Councillor and a Town Councillor in Morecambe where she maintains a focus on community projects that bring people together and taking the council out into the community by taking part in local community events.
Saf is a manager running several retail businesses, which have been established for over 10 years within the North West. As a business owner, he has worked with the community on different causes and campaigns from anti-social behaviour to various forms of discrimination and how to engage with political stakeholders.
He has been a Labour party campaigner for many years working on various elections across the North West especially in marginal seats and helping to organise events and implement training for local members.
Saf cares passionately about defending the rights of individuals and providing a voice for those who are less able to speak for themselves.
Yvonne works as a community cohesion facilitator across Lancashire, enabling residents, some with complex social, mental and emotional needs, from across the city’s diverse community to work together and nurture friendships.
She also has over 20 years’ experience of delivering participatory arts activities for a wide range of people in some of the most disadvantaged communities of the North West.
Yvonne is a founding member of community gardening group “Nelson in Bloom”. She is also chair of Trustees for Pendle charity “Brierfield Action in the Community” which promotes social cohesion in the area and runs activities to bring people together.