After years of humanitarian work in Africa helping the victims of war, disease and famine, local campaigner Laura Gordon is setting the pace to becoming our next MP.
LIVES: In Sheffield Hallam in Crookes.
FAMILY: Married to David who works as a junior doctor in the local NHS.
EXPERIENCE: WWorked for the Department for International Development before settling in Sheffield. Previously worked in humanitarian roles for charities, including Oxfam and Save the Children on the international stage in countries affected by conflict, Ebola and natural disasters.
HOBBIES: Climbing and hiking in the Peak District. When working in Sudan, Laura started a climbing club - putting up new routes in Kassala and north of Khartoum.
Meet the woman fighting to get a brighter future for Sheffield…
Laura, you’ve never stood for Parliament before. What’s made you take on the challenge to become an MP?
"When I talk to friends and neighbours here in Sheffield, again and again people tell me how worried they are about the future. Whether it’s the effects of Brexit, funding for our NHS or concerns about jobs or their children’s prospects, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
"As an MP I want to use my experience to make a positive difference and build a better future for our city."
It’s now nearly a year since your selection. What have some of the highlights been?
"It’s been hard work but worthwhile. Helping members of the public who’ve come to my advice surgeries has taken up a lot of my time, but is incredibly rewarding when I’m able to help people.
"I’ve also worked with STAG and other community groups to fight the Council’s plans to cut down nearly half the city’s street trees and hold them to account for their authoritarian approach.
"I think my greatest success was working with local NHS decision-makers in our campaign to keep open the Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit – I put a lot of time into understanding the system and engaging with them constructively, and it paid off in September when they announced they were re-opening the consultation."
What do you like most about living here in Sheffield?
"My husband is an NHS doctor at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. We’ve lived here several years now but from the day we moved here this city has felt like home to me. People here are so warm and friendly. We love the fact that we’ve so many green and open spaces on our doorstep."
What do you think the biggest challenges are right now in Britain?
“I think it’s the division that exists in our society and in our politics – between rich and poor, north and south and of course leave and remain. Brexit has brought these divisions to the fore and threatens everyone’s future. I think we need to get both sides talking together rather than shouting at each other – there’s more that unites us than divides us."
You mention Brexit, where do you stand on the issue?
"It’s becoming clearer by the day that the government is making a mess of the negotiations and that the cost of Brexit is going to be bigger than anyone expected. I think the people, not the government, should get the final say on the Brexit deal.
"I voted to keep Britain in Europe because I thought it was the best way to deliver more jobs, keep our nation secure and to tackle issues like climate change that don’t stop at borders."
What are your priorities for Sheffield?
"Sheffield is a great city and can have a bright future - but we’re being held back. We’ve got thousands of people working in the public sector who have seen their incomes fall year after year. Our schools, NHS and transport links have been starved of investment. As an MP I will fight tooth and nail to get a better financial deal from Westminster."
And finally – from aid work in Sudan to Westminster, this is quite a change for you! What makes you the right person for this job?
"I think we need politicians who have been out in the real world and who aren’t afraid to challenge the broken politics we see in the news every day. I’m passionate about our city, the people that live here and the brighter future that everyone is looking for. I’ll work hard every day to make that happen."