|Member of Parliament
for North West Cambridgeshire
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Brian Mawhinney|
4 September 1960 |
|Alma mater||Brunel University|
Shailesh Lakhman Vara (born 4 September 1960) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Cambridgeshire in the 2005 general election, succeeding Brian Mawhinney as the Conservative MP for the seat. Shailesh Vara has previously been a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party. In 2006, he was appointed to the shadow ministerial post of Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. Following the 2010 general election, he was appointed to the position of Assistant Whip in the coalition government. On 7th October 2013, he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.
Born in Uganda to Hindu Indian Immigrants. Vara came to Britain with his family in 1964 when he was four. Educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and Brunel University, Vara qualified as a solicitor. He worked in the City and West End of London, and during 1989-1990, he worked in Hong Kong. Vara has been a senior legal adviser and business consultant for London First, and is vice-president of the Small Business Bureau. He also has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and set up his own club where he taught for a while. Vara is married with two children.
Vara has been involved with the Conservative Party since the late 1980s and has held various posts at local, regional and national levels. As Vice Chairman of the Party, he had a broad range of responsibilities. These included advising Michael Howard, deputising for the Party Chairman, party spokesman with the media and looking after Conservative Future (which comprises the 10,000 or so people in the party under 30).
Vara was elected Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire in May 2005. He had previously contested the Birmingham Ladywood seat at the 1997 general election, which Labour's Clare Short held on to, and Northampton South in the 2001 general election, which Vara failed to win by only 885 votes.
At the Conservative Party Conference in 2000, he was awarded the accolade of official "rising star" of the Party, with Lord Alexander of Weedon describing him as a "future Conservative Party leader".
In the run up to the 2001 general election, Shailesh was a member of the Party's manifesto teams for Law and Order and Legal Affairs.
In 2003, Shailesh was invited by the US government to take part in their "Young European Leaders" programme in which he was elected group leader by his fellow delegates from 12 countries.
Breast Cancer Bill
The Breast Cancer Bill  was Shailesh's chosen issue after he was one of 20 MPs who were selected at random to introduce a Private Members Bill to the House, and he has campaigned enthusiastically to broaden the age of routine breast cancer screening for women from the present 50-70 age group to 45–75 years.
However, the government refused to support the Bill and "talked it out". This is a device whereby bills can be blocked when the Minister concerned continues speaking until it is time for the debate to end, and by doing so, the Bill is effectively stopped from further progress. 
Shailesh Vara has given his backing to Breast Cancer Campaign’s (BCC) award winning national "wear it pink" day, and showed his support for breast cancer charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer at a meeting in the House of Commons.
- Official Site
- Conservative party - Shailesh Vara
- Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Shailesh Vara MP
- The Times : Election 2005
- TheyWorkForYou.com - Shailesh Vara MP
- Guardian - Class of 2005
- Telegraph - Vara Interview
- HearFromYourMp - Shailesh Vara
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire