|Nirj Deva MEP|
|Deva in 2010|
|Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
10 June 1999
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Brentford and Isleworth
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Barney Hayhoe|
|Succeeded by||Ann Keen|
|Born||Niranjan Joseph De Silva Deva Aditya
11 May 1948
Colombo, Dominion of Ceylon
|Citizenship||Sri Lankan & UK|
|European Conservatives and Reformists|
Niranjan Joseph De Silva Deva Aditya FRSA DL (born 11 May 1948; commonly known as Nirj Deva) 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
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.
At the 1992 general election, Deva was elected to the House of Commons as MP for the London constituency of Brentford and Isleworth with a majority of 2,086. 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.
Deva was chosen by the Conservatives to be one of their candidates for the South East England at the 1999 European Parliament election. This was to be the first European election in the UK to use the closed party-list proportional representation electoral system and Deva was placed fifth amongst the eleven Conservatives candidates in South East England. After the election the Conservatives were entitled to five MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was elected to the European Parliament. Deva became the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament. At the 2004 European Parliament election Deva was moved up to second place on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England. After the election the Conservatives were entitled to four MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to 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.
At the 2009 European Parliament election Deva was placed third on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England. After the election the Conservatives were entitled to four MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to the European Parliament.
In November 2011 it was announced that Deva would be the European Conservatives and Reformists Group's candidate for President of the European Parliament. However, when the election took place in January 2012 he only received the support of 142 MEPs, trailing behind S&D candidate Martin Schulz who received 387 votes.
At the 2014 European Parliament election Deva was placed second on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England. After the election the Conservatives were entitled to three MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to the European Parliament. After the election the Sri Lankan media falsely reported that Deva had increased his share of the vote – electors vote for the party, not the candidate, and the Conservatives votes and share of the vote had actually decreased.
Deva 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. He has established an online campaign calling for a referendum on the European Constitution (www.giveusareferendum.eu), and launched an online survey asking the views of his constituents on the future of the EU (www.southeastsurvey.eu).
Whilst an MP Deva served as a consultant for tobacco manufacturer Rothmans, builders Laing and power station equipment manufacturer KHD. Following the cash-for-questions affair Deva was amongst a number of MPs who were investigated by an official inquiry led by Gordon Downey. The inquiry found that Deva had no case to answer.
Deva lobbies extensively for the Sri Lankan government and founded the Friends of Sri Lanka group in the European Parliament. He is regarded as an unofficial "Ambassador-at-Large for Sri Lanka".
Deva's family has extensive business interests in Sri Lanka including tea, rubber and coconut plantations as well a distillery and residential property. Deva is a director of Waulugalle Distilleries Limited, Serene Residencies (Private) Limited and the family trust.
Deva holds directorships of a number of Sri Lanka's largest companies. He is a director of conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC. He was appointed a non-executive director of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC, with effect from 1 July 2010. He was appointed to the board of directors of MTD Walkers PLC with effect from 29 February 2012. He is a director of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC and its subsidiary Melstacorp Limited. He is also a director of The Kingsbury PLC (formerly Hotel Services (Ceylon) PLC), a subsidiary of Hayleys PLC.
Other roles and activities
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.
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 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.
In 2006 Deva tried to become a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations. Deva claimed to have received the recommendation of Fijian Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola, a claim refuted by Fiji. He tried unsuccessfully to receive the endorsement of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The British government also refused to support Deva. With so little support Deva didn't go forward as an official candidate.
Since 2008 Deva has served as the President of the International Committee on Human Dignity for the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute, and is also the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Working Group on Human Dignity since its launch in 2009.
Deva is married to Indra – a French-speaking Mauritian. Indra has worked as Deva's personal assistant since he was elected an MP in 1992. As of 2009 Indra was earning a salary of £30,000-£39,999 for working as one of Deva's assistants in the European Parliament.
The couple have one son.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nirj Deva.|
- European Parliament
- BBC Democracy Live
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nirj Deva
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth