I was born in Bishop Auckland and studied at City of Leicester College of Education and the University of Leicester. In 1973, I was elected to Leicester City Council.
Eight years later, I became Leader of the Council – a position I held almost continuously for the next 17 years.
During this time I oversaw the council’s transition from district council to a unitary authority, taking on responsibility for all local government services in Leicester. I also spearheaded Leicester’s City Challenge programme, bringing over £400m of jobs and regeneration to Leicester – including the land for the King Power Stadium and the development of the National Space Centre.
In 1999, I was immensely proud to be knighted by the Queen for services to the City of Leicester.
In 2005, I contested, and won, the parliamentary seat of Leicester South and remained as a Member of Parliament for that constituency until April 2011, when I resigned the seat in order to stand for election as Leicester’s first directly elected City Mayor.
On May 5 2011, I won that election against ten other candidates, polling almost 47,000 votes – 55% of the votes cast. I was re-elected in 2015, and I am privileged to have been re-elected in May 2019 to serve as Leicester’s City Mayor for a third term, increasing my share of the vote by 6%.
I've also been the Head of Regions for the British Lung Foundation and Deputy Chair of British Waterways.
I've lived in Leicester for more than 40 years. My late wife and I had three children, Cassandra, Eleanor and Lauren, and nine grandchildren.