|Marital Status:||Single; two children|
South Hampstead High School, Oxford Brookes University
I was born and brought up in North London and have lived in the Hornsey & Wood Green constituency for over 30 years. I went to primary school in Highgate, and still live there today, having lived off the Archway Road for several years in the meantime.
I used to run my own London design company and was then the strategic design consultant for the UK's largest transport consultancy. I have also worked at University College Hospital and was director of an electrical business with ten branches across London.
I served on the London Assembly 2000-5, before stepping down after being elected as MP for Hornsey and Wood Green. During my time on the GLA, I chaired the Transport Committee and also served on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA). I served as number two in the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team in Parliament and the party's London spokesperson. I was promoted to the party's Shadow Cabinet as International Development spokesperson in December 2006, giving up my London and Home Affairs posts. In January 2009, I was asked by Nick Clegg to oversee the party's online campaigning as Chair of the New Technology Board.
I was a councillor on Haringey Council (Muswell Hill ward, 1998-2006), where I was Leader of the Opposition 1998-2002.
I first became involved in politics when I helped form a residents' association in order to fight council plans to introduce a parking scheme.
I spent time as a volunteer in the Royal Free Hospital, helping seriously ill patients. I have written a textbook on marketing architecture and in my spare time I have been both an amateur actress and a hospital radio disc-jockey.
My blog keeps people in touch with my work in Haringey and Parliament. It was one of the runners-up in the Guardian's political blog of the year awards 2004. The Guardian praised the blog as being a "down-to-earth, good-humoured blog ... Praised for its ability to make road humps, leafleting and Fire Service modernisation interesting."
I was short-listed in the "Rising Stars" category for the 2006 Channel Four Political Awards and shorlisted for the Dods Woman MP of the Year award in 2007. My blog has twice been nominated for the New Statesman New Media Awards.
In the 1998 local elections I and my two colleagues took Haringey's Muswell Hill ward from Labour; a Labour lead of 1,091 was turned into a LibDem majority of 831. At the time Muswell Hill had the largest Labour party ward membership in London. I became Leader of the Opposition on Haringey Council in 1998.
In the 2002 Haringey Council elections, I led the Liberal Democrats to their best ever result, gaining ten seats from Labour and two from the Conservatives and afterwards stood down as Leader of the Opposition. We've built on the 2002 success, winning a seat in Stroud Green in the 2004 by-election, gaining the Parliamentary seat with a 15% swing from Labour in May 2005 and then gaining a further 11 seats from Labour in the 2006 council elections - cutting Labour's majority on Haringey Council to just three.
In 2010, I was appointed Minister for Equalities following the formation of the Coalition Government, switching to Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for International Development in September 2012
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