My name comes from Ghana, where my parents were born in the 1940s. They came to Britain as students in the 1960s, studied hard and encouraged me to do the same. At age thirteen, I was very fortunate to win a scholarship to Eton College. After finishing there, I read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, where I earned Bachelor and PhD degrees in British History, and was part of the series-winning team on University Challenge.
I then worked as a financial analyst, journalist and author. My book, Ghosts of Empire, about the global legacy of the British Empire, will be published shortly. I cut my political teeth in 2005, standing for election in Brent East, and chaired the Bow group in 2006 before being elected Member of Parliament for Spelthorne in May 2010.
Soon after taking my seat in Westminster, I delivered my maiden speech to the House of Commons; this was a proud moment, a real chance to stand up for Spelthorne, and express my views on national issues.
Since then, the Government's legislative programme has moved fast. I have taken every opportunity to debate new policies and issues in the House of Commons; one of the most significant being last autumn's Comprehensive Spending Review. On October 28th I explained to the Chamber why the Review is right and responsible: "The cuts are necessary. After all, £1 in every £4 we spent was borrowed, which was unsustainable. No one in their right mind would lead their private life on that basis. We cannot keep on borrowing and spending. These are obvious truths, which we have recognised and addressed." Indeed, acting immediately should ensure that Britain is more prosperous at the end of this Parliament than it is now.
In addition, I was recently elected to the Transport Select Committee. Being a member of the committee puts me in a position to scrutinize and shape policies relating to the future of Heathrow, the possible development of Airtrack, and the Crossrail project; all of which are key concerns locally. This is exactly what I will be doing into the New Year.
I live in Spelthorne and spend as much time in the constituency as possible. I address residents' issues during my weekly surgery in Staines, and get a feel for how national politics is affecting local services by visiting sites across the constituency. Recently, I have been to local primary and secondary schools, Shepperton Studios, and St Peter's hospital, where I met staff and discussed impending NHS reforms. One of my favourite other activities is meeting constituents on the doorstep, because it is one of the best ways that a politician can speak to people on their terms and understand how they really feel.