Born and raised in her own constituency of Swansea East, Carolyn grew up with a keen interest in politics – even as a young child campaigning and canvassing within her community.
After gaining a degree in Social Policy from Swansea University in 1998, Carolyn continued to work within her community, setting up two centres for disaffected youths. This was followed by roles as a Regional Director for a capacity building not-for-profit organisation and then a Regional Manager for a children’s cancer charity.
Her Parliamentary career began in 2005 when she was employed by the then Member of Parliament for Swansea East, Sian James, working for her for nearly ten years, initially as a caseworker, and eventually as her Office Manager and Senior Parliamentary Assistant.
When Sian chose to step down in 2015, Carolyn was selected as the preferred Labour candidate for Swansea East and on 7 May 2015, she was elected as the constituencies Member of Parliament with a majority of over 12,000. After the snap general election in 2017, Carolyn was re-elected with an increased majority.
In just short of three years in Parliament, Carolyn has risen from a backbencher to Shadow Home Affairs and Women & Equalities Minister. She is now regularly seen on the opposition benches or at the despatch box, debating with colleagues and urging the Government to make changes for the good of the people.
Aside from her Shadow Ministerial duties, Carolyn remains a true campaigner, and as such chairs the All Party Parliamentary Groups on State Pension Inequality for Women, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Home Electrical Safety, Children in Wales and Bereavement. These are all issues that Carolyn cares passionately about, as she seeks to make changes that will benefit both her own constituents, and the public in general all around the country.
Carolyn is also currently leading a campaign for the Government to establish a Children’s Funeral Fund, to spare bereaved parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child the financial burden of burying their loved one. This campaign is very personal to Carolyn, having lost her own son Martin when he was just eight years old, and the reaction to it has been phenomenal. The most significant response came from the Welsh Labour Government when they introduced a Children’s Funeral Fund last year and Carolyn remains focused on her campaign to persuade the UK Government to do the same.
Carolyn’s commitment and her passion for campaigning on so many important issues saw her awarded with the titles of Campaigner of the Year from the Mirror Newspaper in 2016 and ITV’s Welsh MP of the Year in 2017.
Despite her ever-growing Parliamentary workload, Carolyn still remains focused on the needs of her own community in Swansea East, holding weekly surgeries around the constituency every Friday and monthly coffee mornings. As well as this, her constituency office is open and staffed five days a week, offering support and advice to those in need.
Whilst the corridors of Westminster have become her political home, Carolyn is still the same Welsh girl who canvassed on the streets as a child. Swansea East and its people will always be the main focus of her attention.