Simon was elected Rochdale's Member of Parliament in May 2010. Before becoming Rochdale's MP he worked in a social research company based in Manchester that he co-founded in 1999. Prior to this he worked as a researcher for The Big Issue in the North.
He has been involved in the Labour movement for many years having joined the Labour Party through the GMB trade union in the late 1980s. Simon is a former councillor, having been elected at the young age of 27 and served 8 years before standing down to concentrate on business.
His working life started at 16 in a factory making gas fires. He eventually studied at night school and gained the qualifications he’d missed out on at secondary school. Simon then earned a place at Lancaster University where he studied economic sociology and politics as a mature student. He spent three years travelling up and down the M6 motorway to study at Lancaster and believes this educational opportunity has helped raise his aspirations and those he has for others.
Simon has keen interests, which are shaped both by his own life experience and by the social research he has done over many years. These include alleviating poverty, getting more young people into gainful employment, tackling antisocial behaviour and supporting the development of small businesses. In addition Simon sits on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and has a strong interest in local government and the devolution of power to local communities.
Simon has won recognition for his campaigning on the issue of child sexual abuse. He has been instrumental in changing attitudes towards child abuse by making it a mainstream topic of political debate. Simon’s has called for more Government action in the wake of the Rochdale and Rotherham grooming scandals and his campaign on the Westminster scandal has led to a major Government enquiry. Simon was named the Political Campaigner of the Year in 2014 for his work on this issue.