About Jo

I was brought up in East Anglia and, before moving to Suffolk two years ago, lived and worked in the rural county of Lincolnshire, with my husband and four daughters.

My early career started in retail for both regional and global brands and led me into site development and the building industry. Since 1994, I have run two successful contracting companies.

As a mature student, studying part time as I worked, I achieved first class degrees at both BSc and MSc levels. I began to study for a PhD in Small and Medium Sized Enterprise and Social Responsibility at the University of Nottingham. Unfortunately, a second bout of cancer forced me to put my research on hold.

My lifelong interest in politics became more focused five years ago, when I started campaigning for improved cancer outcomes. As a thirty one mother of two, I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I was treated again in my mid 40's for breast cancer.

My personal experience of the services and support available to patients, led to my involvement with Breakthrough, the Breast Cancer charity. In my time as a healthcare campaigner, I spoke in Parliament on cancer outcomes and undertook national awareness campaigns.

My drive to improve everyday lives, led me to being elected as a Lincolnshire County Councillor. In this role I immediately took on an executive function covering and working with a broad range of external bodies, but still with a particular focus for health and business such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and Health and Well-Being Board.

As my daughters have grown up, I have been a Vice chair of Governors at one of the East Midlands top Grammar schools and have chaired their finance committee. I have also been a governor at a BESD school rated as outstanding and sat on a Sure Start Board.

Throughout my life, I have always juggled working, studying, raising my four daughters and a two time cancer diagnosis. I now bring my broad base of experience to my constituency and my home of Bury St Edmunds.

As a Member of Parliament and the first female representative for Bury St Edmunds, I represent my constituency as a Member of the following bodies:

- Women and Equalities Select Committee (2015-17)

- Environmental Audit Committee (2015-16)

- Personalised Medicine All Party Parliamentary Group (Chair)

- Medical Research All Party Parliamentary Group (Chair)

- Cancer All Party Parliamentary Group (Vice Chair)

- Breast Cancer All Party Parliamentary Group (Vice Chair)

- Magna Carta All Party Parliamentary Group

- Small businesses All Party Parliamentary Group

- Housing All Party Parliamentary Group

- Beer All Party Parliamentary Group

- Autism All Party Parliamentary Group

- Bank mis-selling All Party Parliamentary Group

- Pig and poultry All Party Parliamentary Group

- WASPI All Party Parliamentary Group

- Rural services All Party Parliamentary Group

In July 2016, I was elected, with joint highest nominations to join the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). 

In July 2016, I was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Armed Forces.