James was elected as the Labour MP for Bury North on 8th June 2017, after standing in 2015 and losing the seat by just 378 votes. He won in 2017 with a majority of 4,375 votes over incumbent Tory David Nuttall, a 12.5% increase on Labour’s 2015 vote share. The seat had a 5% swing to Labour, bucking the national trend, which saw a 2% swing to Labour overall.
James has lived in Bury with his wife Nikki since 2009 and they are raising their four children - Jemima, Henry, Lizzie and Bobby - in the town. Nikki runs a local small business which started on the market in Ramsbottom.
Before being elected to Parliament, James was CEO and Founder of All Together, a social enterprise providing careers education and guidance services to young people to help them get into work. He also served three years as a Bury councillor.
First coming to Manchester to study at university in 1996, James was enticed by the city’s music scene and, long before entering politics, was performing at venues and festivals across the country, including Glastonbury, as lead singer in rock band Finka and later the Fusileers.