Andrew has lived in Oxford East all his adult life and for the last 34 years in Flaxfield Road, Blackbird Leys. Andrew was a City Councillor for Blackbird Leys before being elected to Parliament, and chaired committees on local planning, recreation and race relations. For many years he has championed better local housing provision and the benefits of Oxford's multicultural community.
In addition, Andrew worked as Member Relations Officer for the local Co-operative Society, and continues to support co-operative initiatives, both locally and globally. He remains a member of the Co-operative Party to this day.
In Parliament, Andrew has taken up a wide range of issues, especially health, housing, pensions, climate change, international development, and employment in shops and the car industry. He has also worked with Amnesty International on human rights in China.
In the Labour Government from 1997 to 2004, Andrew served as Minister for Employment, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He brought in Labour's New Deal to help young and long term unemployed people into jobs, oversaw big increases in spending on health, education and overseas aid, and brought in the Pension Credit as well as the Pension Protection Fund.
A member of the shopworkers union USDAW since his time at the Co-op, Andrew chairs the USDAW Parliamentary Group and is a member of the Executive of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs.
Andrew is a keen gardener, and enjoys walking, cycling, windsurfing and kayaking.
Andrew is Honorary President of the Pathway Sheltered Workshop and the OxVox Oxford United Supporters Trust and is a Patron of the ACE centre providing specialist support for people with acute communication difficulties. He is also the President of the Oxford Blackbirds Boys and Girls FC and is a member of Friends of the Earth.