“It’s on my shoulders to prove I can be better than the old grey men in grey suits.”
That’s how one of Lancashire’s newest MPs sees her responsibility in Westminster.
Politics has become quite distant from people’s lives and a lot of that is because we take our politicians from very similar walks of lifeMP Cat Smith
Cat Smith, 29, is the third youngest Labour MP in the Commons, and determined to challenge the status quo.
“We desperately need more MPs with a working class background,”, said Cat. “I think I come from an atypical background.”
Ms Smith, whose father was on the Trades Council and whose mother was active in the Methodist church, said constituents often saw politicians as irrelevant.
But, as a northern woman, saddled with her own student debt, she believes she can bring about change.
Ms Smith said: “Politics has become quite distant from people’s lives and a lot of that is because we take our politicians from very similar walks of life.
“I think it’s really good to have politicians in their twenties.
“I’ve got a student loan debt. A lot of MPs have never had that experience and they make legislation that affects young people.”
The MP, who grew up in Barrow and now lives in Lancaster, part of her constituency of Lancaster and Fleetwood, said she believed a parliament should look like the people it represents.
She said: “I was born working class, my parents haven’t been to university, my sisters both work on checkouts in supermarkets.
“I don’t think their views are very well represented in parliament.”
Ms Smith now plans to draw on her own experiences to work for changes in society.
She said: “I rented for a lot of years in housing rather than buying and owning and there is very little legislation to protect tenants.
“I’ve had some great landlords but some were really shoddy and put my health at risk and my safety at risk.
“I had to move out of one property because it was condemned.
“They can get away with it currently and I would be interested to change that.”
She said she would work to tackle energy insulation within the flats, and said: “The most energy inefficient houses in the country are the ones rented to tenants.
“The poorest people in the country end up living in the most energy inefficient houses.”
Cat said she would also be working with the National Autistic Society to help young adults get into work.
She said: “I want to set up a jobs fair where we can introduce employers to young adults with autism.
“We’ve got really high unemployment rates among young people with autism, and it’s particular things like that I want to do.”