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 5th 2011, I won that election against ten other candidates, polling almost 47,000 votes – 55% of the votes cast. I am privileged to have been re-elected to serve as Leicester’s City Mayor for a second term, polling just over 71,500 votes – 55% of the votes cast.
I'm a former member of the Audit Commission and of the Beacon Council Advisory Panel.
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.