Emma Hardy was brought up in the East Riding – a few miles from the seat of Hessle and West Hull that she now represents in Parliament. She attended the local Wyke College in Bricknell for her sixth-form studies before going further afield (Leeds and Liverpool) to train as a teacher. It wasn’t long before she was back home, however, teaching at Willerby Carr Lane Primary School – a school she taught at for over ten years.
It was teaching that led her into politics. After graduating in 2001 she started teaching in 2004, but by 2011 she decided that she had better start fighting to defend the type of education that she valued. She wanted to defend an education system that gave all people of all ages the chance to make a better life for themselves just like the chance education had given her Dad. He’d left school with few qualifications but gone back to college later on in life to become a head teacher. His route out of poverty – education – was a route he shared with his brothers but in the austere climate post-2008, it was an education system that the then Education Secretary Michael Gove was tearing down.
So, in 2011 Emma got political. She joined a campaign protesting against school cuts and met Alan Johnson, the then MP for Hessle and Hull West, to hand him a petition. In 2015 she left teaching to become a full-time organiser for the National Union of Teachers in order to put all her efforts into fighting for the resources that schools and colleges need.
In the 2017 snap election, she was nominated as the Labour candidate for Hessle and Hull West and took the seat with a majority of 8,025. Since her election, Emma has been able to actively pursue her passion for a stronger, better-funded education system in the House of Commons chamber and on the Education Select Committee. In addition to her funding campaigns, she has also challenged the Government to ban informal exclusions worked in support of the teaching of oracy (fluency in spoken communication) and promoted the benefits of a broad curriculum which includes the arts, music and sports.
Her first campaign after being elected was to secure the funding for the A63 Castle Street development and prevent any further delays and ensure the bridge was built as earlier as possible. Following years and years of delays to the project, the building of the bridge started in October 2018 and the A63 was on course to begin in March 2020.
Outside of the education sphere, Emma has fought a successful campaign to get the Government to back down on the routine use of vaginal surgical mesh in the NHS. In September 2017 the Government did just that. 1000s more women will, therefore, be spared the horrific side effects of vaginal mesh surgery that women have endured since 2003. Continuing the work of her predecessor, Emma has also lobbied successfully to bring money to Hull for a new Children and Adolescent Mental Health Unit. The money was agreed upon by the Government in July 2018.
Emma is the Chair for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Oracy, the APPG for Surgical Mesh, the APPG for Vascular and Venous Disease and the Vice Chair for the APPF for Endometriosis.
She lives in Hessle with her partner James, two daughters Olivia and Isabelle and cats Thomas and Serena.