Nirj Deva

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nirj Deva MEP
Nirj Deva UNDP 2010.jpg
Nirj Deva in 2010
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
Assumed office
10 June 1999
Preceded by Position established
Member of Parliament
for Brentford and Isleworth
In office
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Barney Hayhoe
Succeeded by Ann Keen
Personal details
Born (1948-05-11) May 11, 1948 (age 65)
Colombo, Dominion of Ceylon
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Indra
Children 1
Religion Roman Catholicism

Niranjan Joseph "Nirj" De Silva Deva-Aditya FRSA DL (born 11 May 1948) is a politician from the United Kingdom. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been a Member of the European Parliament representing South East England since 1999. He was previously a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons from 1992 to 1997, representing the constituency of Brentford and Isleworth.

Deva was born in Sri Lanka into a politically active family, and was raised in Britain. He was only the fourth Asian-born person to be elected a Member of the House of Commons, and was the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament.

Family background and education[edit]

Deva was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to a leading family of Rajasthani (Indian) descent, and is a Roman Catholic. He spent his Primary and secondary education at St. Joseph's College, which is a leading Catholic school in Colombo. He holds Sri Lankan and British citizenship, and speaks Sinhalese and English.

Deva was educated at Loughborough University, where he completed a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and was subsequently a Postgraduate Research Fellow in Economics.

British Parliament[edit]

In 1992, Deva was elected to the House of Commons as MP for the London constituency of Brentford and Isleworth. During his time in Parliament, Deva served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Scottish Office.

Deva was only the second Asian-born person to be elected a Member of the House of Commons and serve in the British Government.

He was defeated in the 1997 general election, losing to the Labour candidate Ann Keen.

European Parliament[edit]

In 1999, Deva became the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament where he represents South East England. He serves as co-ordinator on the Committee on Overseas Development and Cooperation, and is a bureau member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. He is also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.

In April 2005 he was chairman of the European Parliament's delegation to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, and delivered a paper on the future of the United Nations at the US Council on Foreign Relations. A few months later, he headed the European Parliament's delegation to the UN High-Level Conference on global financing of aid. Also in 2005 he was Co-Chairman (with former Prime Minister of France Michel Rocard) of the European Parliaments' Delegation to the World Summit at the United Nations 60th General Assembly.

Deva has established an online campaign calling for a referendum on the European Constitution (, and launched an online survey asking the views of his constituents on the future of the EU (

On November 3, 2011 it was announced that Deva is candidate for President of the European Parliament of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.[1] Other candidates are Martin Schulz and Diana Wallis.

Other roles and activities[edit]

In 1981, Deva became Chairman of the Bow Group (a leading conservative think tank in Britain), and initiated the Transatlantic Conferences between the Bow Group and the Republican Party/Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Deva was appointed Chairman of the Department of Transport/National Consumer Council Committee on De-regulation of Air-Transport, whose Report was published by the UK Government in March 1986. This resulted in the low-fare airlines in Europe, which have brought affordable travel to millions.

Deva was a Member of the Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society from 1976 to 1980. In 1985, he became the first Asian-born person to be appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to the office of Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Greater London – a position which he holds for life. He is a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Arts, President of the EU-India Chamber of Commerce, and a Patron of the International Monarchist League. Deva has backed many important education and health issues – he is a staunch supporter of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK and in Sri Lanka.

Since 2008 Deva has served as the President of the International Committee on Human Dignity for the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute,[2] and is also the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Working Group on Human Dignity since its launch in 2009.

Family life[edit]

Deva is married to Indra – a French-speaking Mauritian. The couple have one son.

External links[edit]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Barney Hayhoe
Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth
Succeeded by
Ann Keen