Alan graduated with a degree in Politics and Philosophy from Southampton University and went on to achieve a Ph.D. in Political Science. In 1980, he became a city councillor and then Leader of the Council when Labour took control in 1984.
Alan has held his seat as the Labour MP for Southampton Test since 1997 and was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority. During this time, he has served on the Select Committees for Environment, Transport and the Regions; Energy and Climate Change; Environmental Audit; as well as a number of bill committees pertaining to energy and environmental matters.
Alan has been the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister since October 2016 and served as the Shadow DECC Minister for Generation and Transmission September 2015 – June 2016. Prior to this, Alan was the Chair of PRASEG, the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group and Co-Chair of APSRG, the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group. His special interests include further and higher education, local government, constitutional affairs, the environment, energy and transport policy.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Waste Management, and member of the Board for The Environment Centre (Southampton) and the Centre for the Third Age (Southampton). He is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Society at Southampton Solent University.