Mark is not your typical politician, with a long career in the sports sector managing sports centres, teaching sport in Higher Education and leading on community development projects. Mark thinks parliament needs a major overhaul – not just to reconfigure the parliamentary chambers – or even move Parliament to a brand new northern location – but also to have more people who have ‘real life’ experience: experience of industry jobs, but also of the struggles to raise a family and make ends meet – this means our MPS would have more connection with the everyday issues people face in their lives.
Mark believes passionately in bringing about a more open, fairer and tolerant society. At a local level, issues such as providing more affordable homes, reinvigorating our high streets and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour are important to address. More employers can help reoffenders get into employment; sport & arts projects can engage young people and, through these in a joined-up way with other agencies, connect young people to jobs and education/training opportunities to ensure that no one gets left behind and has a fair chance in life.
Mark feels we need to work harder to make our communities safer and more cohesive, encouraging more civic engagement and developing ‘bottom up’ solutions with the support of key agencies. Nationally, several issues dominate: the ongoing Brexit drama, the need to tackle climate change, better quality education for our young people, and the future of our health and social care system, which is under severe strain. Mark has called for a cross-party consensus on both climate change and the healthcare system, believing we should all be prepared to pay a little extra for the future of the NHS. We need however to use this money wisely, and provide for more preventative action in communities, not constantly reacting to the rising levels of ill-health in society. There should be more opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity/religion to engage in regular physical activity to benefit their physical and mental health.