About Me

Satvir Kaur photographed at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton

I love Southampton, but there is still so much we can all do to improve our great city. 

Born and bred Southampton, I’ve seen the change we can make, working together to build on the achievements of previous generations.

Growing up in Southampton

I have lived in Southampton all my life. I grew up on free school meals in the inner city, was educated here, and am immensely proud to have graduated from both the University of Southampton and Solent University, first in History and Politics and then in Law. 

I’ve never forgotten my roots. My home was in Newtown, where my family still live. Growing up in one of the most deprived areas in the city came with its challenges but I loved it. I learned the importance of community, relying on good public services such as libraries and youth centres, and I discovered there is real strength in our diversity.    

Satvir photographed with other activists campaigning to save St Mary's Leisure Centre

I have carried that early experience throughout my life. Every child needs opportunities and a thriving community to live a life of joy, fulfilment and dignity. That must start with education. Education is the most important opportunity there is. My life was changed by attending St Anne’s, a good local state school where I was Head Girl. I believe we never stop learning, and should always try to grow our knowledge, understanding, skills and empathy. I have tried to live this throughout my life in politics.

Employment and experience

My previous jobs have given me experience that I carry through to my politics. I have worked for a charity and in a major publishing company, but the most important lessons were the ones I learnt as the daughter of a market trader, and then helping with the family fabric business.

Satvir holding up a piece of fabric, working in the family fabric shop

I learnt the economic and social importance of small business and local highstreets, and how hard we all had to work to keep the business afloat. And sometimes, having a market trader’s shout is pretty useful for debating against the Tories at the council.

Political work
Satvir Kaur giving a speech

I joined the Labour Party because I wanted to make a real difference to my community and the city I love and, in 2011, I was elected to Southampton City Council in Shirley, a then-safe Tory ward. We have built a great local campaign team which responds to residents’ needs and gets our message out there.

As councillor for Shirley ward and cabinet member within the city for over a decade, I see first-hand the difference Labour values and policies have made to Shirley and our city and it is an honour to help deliver these. From setting up initiatives to tackle poverty and inequalities, protecting and building community infrastructure, to ensuring we all have a home that is safe, secure and affordable. We have achieved so much, but I know much more needs to be done.

Alex Winning, Satvir Kaur and Hannah Coombs, Labour councillors for Shirley ward in Southampton

I am also responsible for launching the bid for Southampton to become UK City of Culture 2025, a competition in which we were finalists. It was a process that transformed our city and created a sense of belonging and pride.

During the brief period of Conservative control in Southampton following the 2021 local elections, I became Leader of the Labour Group and Opposition in the city. Whilst in this role I continued to help put Southampton on the map and influenced national policy in a variety of areas.

Leading the Council

With Labour taking back control of the Council in the 2022 Local Elections, I returned as the new Labour Leader – the first person of colour to lead Southampton City Council and the first female Sikh leader in the country.

A screenshot of Satvir Kaur speaking in the studio on BBC South Today

It was a huge personal privilege to take office. My Labour team of councillors and I were incredibly grateful to local residents for putting their trust in us to lead the city again. Despite the fact that I have now stepped down as leader to fight the next general election, the Labour Council continues to work to make every pound the council spends work for you, creating a family city that is safer, greener, and more affordable and, most of all, putting pride back into our neighbourhoods.

Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Test

In the summer of 2022, I was enormously grateful to Labour members in Southampton Test for selecting me to be their next Parliamentary Candidate, standing in place of Alan Whitehead when he retires as our MP at the next general election. I know I have big shoes to fill.

The first priority for us in Test has to be retaining the seat after Alan stands down. Following that, members have my commitment that I will work tirelessly and with integrity to represent our city and progressive policies in Parliament, just as Alan has. I will do it with my own personal passion and energy.