I was born in 1960, the second son of Colin and Alice Lucas, in Gateshead, County Durham.
My father worked all his life as a process engineer in a local factory apart from serving in the army from 1942 -1947. My mother was a housewife who sometimes worked as a cleaner in a local children’s home.
Neither were members of a political party, though both were Labour voters by tradition. There was family talk of politics at home; of my miner grandfather, who was blacklisted after the General Strike and died of emphysema and of my grandmother, who flew the Red Flag in her garden on VE Day, instead of the Union Flag. I have a distant memory of doing a school project on Trotsky when I was eight but I was more preoccupied with my failure to win a place on the school football team.
In 1979 I was the first member of my family to go to university, after attending school at Harlow Green, Greenwell Junior High and Newcastle Royal Grammar School. I studied law at New College, Oxford, but took no part in student politics though I followed current affairs very keenly – rising unemployment under Thatcher, the Falklands War and the destruction of heavy industry in my native North East England.
I qualified as a solicitor in London in 1985 and moved to Wrexham the following year, when I began to specialise in criminal law and personal injury claims. I worked on Merseyside and saw at first hand the appalling problems created by social deprivation and drugs.
1986 was the year I joined the Labour Party and I have been an activist ever since. I have held many local party positions, including Chair of Wrexham Labour Party. I ran a solicitor’s office in Wrexham from 1989 until 1992, when I helped organise a form of industrial action among the town’s solicitors, because of concern over reduced provision of Legal Aid.
This was not popular with my bosses, so I left the firm and began working just over the Shropshire border. I was there for some 8 years and set up my own legal firm. It was during this time that I represented the injured bodyguard in the crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales. I was a School Governor and was on the local hospital board, dealing with quality of care and patients’ complaints. In the 1997 General Election, I stood as Labour Candidate in the rural Tory heartland seat of North Shropshire. We won the best result ever for Labour, even though I lost the seat narrowly.
My particular interests are Home Affairs, the Environment and Overseas Development, especially the work of the UN.
I serve on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select committees.
I have been married to Norah since 1986. We have two children and live in Wrexham. Norah has taught music in local schools since 1986.