Lyn has been the Member of Parliament for the West Ham constituency since 2005. Lyn grew up in Newham; she attended Drew Road Primary School in Silvertown and Plashet Comprehensive School. She went on to study English and Religion at what is now Roehampton University. After three years studying and a year as President of the Student Union, Lyn returned to Newham where she still lives.
Before her election as Member of Parliament for West Ham, Lyn had a long career in local government. She worked for the London Borough of Waltham Forest for a number of years. Lyn also held posts in the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Local Government (ALG), now London Councils. Lyn became Chair of the LGA’s Cultural Services Committee in 2000. In Lyn’s role with the ALG she was instrumental in establishing the London Libraries Development Agency (LLDA).
In 1988, Lyn was elected as a local councillor in the London Borough of Newham and she continued to sit on Newham Council until her election as Member of Parliament for West Ham in 2005. She was re-elected as Member of Parliament for West Ham in the 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 General Elections.
Since her election in 2005, Lyn has campaigned for a Living Wage for all, for the West Ham constituency to receive inner London funding for its inner city problems and for West Ham to reap the benefits of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In 2006, Lyn was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former Minister for Local Government and Community Cohesion, Phil Woolas MP. In this role, she played a significant part in helping to steer the Sustainable Communities Bill through the House of Commons.
In July 2007, Lyn became PPS to the then Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham MP. In June 2009, she was promoted to the position of Assistant Government Whip. After the May 2010 General Election, Lyn became an Opposition Whip. In October 2013 Lyn was promoted onto the front bench as Shadow Communities Minister.
Then from September 2015 to June 2016, Lyn served as Shadow Fire Minister, and until May 2017 as Shadow Policing Minister as part of the Shadow Home Office team.
From January 2018 to April 2020, Lyn held a Shadow Ministerial post in Labour’s Shadow Treasury Team, where she took responsibility for special projects with a specific focus on social inclusion and social mobility.
From April 2020 to December 2021, Lyn served as Shadow Minister for Prisons and Probation in Labour’s Shadow Justice team.
In December 2021, Lyn was appointed Labour’s Shadow Minister for Africa, also working on international development issues around the world, and particularly on global issues affecting women and girls.
See her parliamentary CV here.
The Parliamentary constituency of West Ham sits in the western half of the London Borough of Newham, and includes the communities of Canning Town, Forest Gate, Maryland, Plaistow, Stratford, Upton Park, and West Ham.
West Ham is by far the largest constituency in the country in terms of population, with more than 174,534 residents, according to the most recent estimates from the Office for National Statistics. We have more young people than almost anywhere else in the country, and only 6.5% of our residents are aged over 65, compared to the national average of 16.5%.
Our community is incredibly diverse. According to the 2011 Census, White ethnicities (including White British, White Irish, Irish Traveller and Gypsy, and White Other) account for 34.5% of our residents, while 33.7% are Asian or British Asian and 23.1% are Black, Caribbean, African or Black British, with 5.1% identifying as Mixed/multiple ethnic groups, and 3.6% being from another ethnic group. A wide range of religious faiths is also represented in the constituency, with 46.2% of residents identifying as Christians, 26.8% as Muslims, 12% as of no religion, 5.2% as Hindus, and smaller numbers of Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, and other faith groups.
Far too many of Newham’s residents have to live on low pay, with more than a third of people in work earning less than the London Living Wage. We also have a serious problem with child poverty, that is aggravated by London’s high living costs. After the cost of housing is included, 13 out of every 20 of our children live in poverty. Low pay and child poverty are two of my long-term priorities.