Rob was born in Bournville, Birmingham on 14 January 1966. He attended Bournville Junior and Infants Schools before moving to King’s Norton Boys’ School. At age 18 he went to University College of North Wales, Bangor to read Chemistry. He graduated in 1987 with a BSc (Hons).
After graduating, Rob worked for a short time at Cadbury in Bournville before joining the Inland Revenue. In 1989 he left to join Price Waterhouse accountants as a personal tax advisor. In 1995 he moved to Arthur Andersen and then in 1999 co-founded Platts Flello Limited, tax and financial advisors. In late 2003 he left to work as the chief executive officer of Malachi Community Trust, a position he held until December 2004.
Rob was elected as a local Labour councillor for the Longbridge ward of Birmingham City Council in 2002. He stepped down in 2004. Rob is a former chairman of the Birmingham Northfield Constituency Labour Party. He served as a governor at Newman College, in Bartley Green, and was Chair of Governors for both Colmers Farm infants and junior schools. He was also a governor at The Meadows Primary School. He became a regional organiser for the Labour Party in 2004, a position he held until his election to Westminster.
Rob was elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 General Election for Stoke-on-Trent South following the retirement of George Stevenson. Rob held the seat with a majority of 8,681 and made his maiden speech on May 19, 2005. He retained the seat at the 2010 and 2015 General Elections.
In Parliament Rob is a member of the House of Commons Transport Committee and is Chairman of Parliament’s Freight Transport Group. In addition, he has a keen interest in animal welfare, trade union rights at home and abroad, and religious issues.
Previously he was a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee and was the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Lord Chancellor before becoming PPS to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears. In 2009 he became PPS to the Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, and he served as a shadow minister for Justice from 2010 until 2013.