– Redditch Borough Councillor for Church Hill
– Worcestershire County Councillor for Redditch South
I was born in Coventry, West Midlands, in 1983 and raised on the Canley estate, which had suffered from the collapse of industry in the city and had high levels of unemployment. The estate has been the topic of a number of papers, including one published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation by Professor Harris Beider on white working-class views of neighbourhood, cohesion and change.
My mother worked in the 1980s for a Labour MP and a range of other jobs in the 1990s before falling ill with a long-term illness that has left her a shadow of her former self. This meant the children in the household became young carers. My father was a HGV driver and worked for Pickford’s in the 1980s/1990. He died of lung cancer in 2004. He and my mother separated when I was around 8 or 9 years old, both remarrying meaning I had weekday family and a weekend family.
I first got involved with Conservative politics in 2001 whilst living in Coventry and continued my involvement after moving to Redditch in 2011 where I live with my wife and children. I have worked in various jobs, public and private and a wide range of sectors, though these days my work tends to focus around politics, social media, a bit of IT and casework/campaigns.
I was elected to Redditch Borough Council in May 2018, with the smallest majority possible – just one vote. Although a majority of just one, the Conservatives climbed a mountain to get over the line in these elections. It was the first time I had stood for election after many years helping out behind the scenes. I was tempted into running partly due to the complacency of the sitting Labour councillors, but also because I truly identified with the area of Church Hill, it reminded me a lot of my own estate where I grew up, so I felt like I could speak for the people who live in Church Hill. So I took the plunge and went from campaign manager to candidate.
“As a campaign manager for years, I kept telling people we need to knock every door because we only need one vote to win – little did I know it would be me who gets to live out that expression in real life!”
The day of the count was a tense occasion with all eyes on the Church Hill re-count. It wasn’t until the last pile of ballots that a stray vote was found and re-assigned. I am extremely grateful to whoever that one single voter was.
“Your vote truly made a difference – just one vote swung the outcome of the election in Church Hill, taking a political career from one and giving it to another. There are few moments in politics when the reality of ‘every vote counts’ truly hits home, but it did that day.”
Mike was elected to Worcestershire County Council in the shared Division of Redditch South along with Craig Warhurst, with a majority of 1,895 votes ahead of the nearest opposition party competitor. Mike will serve a term of office from 2021 to 2025.