Alok Sharma

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Alok Sharma
MP
Official portrait of Alok Sharma crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for Employment
Assumed office
9 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State Esther McVey
Preceded by Damian Hinds
Minister of State
for Housing and Planning
In office
14 June 2017 – 9 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State Sajid Javid
Preceded by Gavin Barwell
Succeeded by Dominic Raab
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific
In office
17 July 2016 – 13 June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State Boris Johnson
Preceded by James Duddridge
Succeeded by Mark Field (Minister of State)
Member of Parliament
for Reading West
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Martin Salter
Majority 2,876 (5.6%)
Personal details
Born (1967-09-07) 7 September 1967 (age 51)
Agra, India
Political party Conservative
Children 2 daughters
Alma mater University of Salford

Alok Sharma (born 7 September 1967)[1] is a British politician with the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. He was elected in 2010 as Member of Parliament for Reading West. In 2016, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Theresa May and in 2017, he was moved to become Housing and Planning minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government. In January 2018, he became Minister of State for Employment.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Sharma was born in the Indian city of Agra, but moved to Reading with his parents when he was five years old.[3] He was raised in the Reading suburbs of Earley and Whitley Wood and attended Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning[4] and the University of Salford, from where he graduated with a BSc in Applied Physics with electronics in 1988.[5]

Sharma subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant, training with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in Manchester before moving into corporate finance advisory with Nikko Securities and then Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, where he held senior roles based out of London, Stockholm and Frankfurt. Sharma was an adviser to clients in the corporate and private equity sector on cross border mergers and acquisitions, listings and restructurings.[6]

Sharma is a governor of a local primary school in Reading. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the advancement of the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce.[4] Previously he served as a chairman of the political think tank Bow Group's economic affairs committee. In 2013, he was appointed as the Conservative vice-chairman for BME Communities.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Sharma was elected as MP for Reading West in 2010, winning a majority of 6,004. His majority was 2,876 at the 2017 general election.[7]

Political appointments[edit]

In Parliament, Sharma has served as a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, between July 2010 and February 2011[8] and is a current member of the Treasury Select Committee.[9] During Sharma’s time on the Treasury Select Committee, the committee has investigated how financial services customers are treated and Sharma has been critical of the banks for mis-selling products to customers.[10]

Sharma was appointed in September 2011 as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Mark Hoban MP, during Hoban's time as Financial Secretary to the Treasury.[11] During his time as a PPS, Sharma sat on a number of public bill committees including two finance bills, the 2013 Banking Reform Bill and the 2011 Pensions Bill.[12]

Sharma is currently Conservative vice-chairman for BME communities[13] and co-chairman of Conservative Friends of India.[14]

In 2017, he was appointed housing minister taking over from Gavin Barwell who lost his seat in the June 2017 election.[15] In January 2018, he became the Minister of State for Employment.[2]

Free Schools[edit]

Sharma supported the opening of one of the first new Free Schools in the country in his Reading West constituency. All Saints Junior School opened in September 2011 and received an “Outstanding” rating in its first Ofsted report.[16]

Sharma has also been appointed a Patron of the Wren School, a new secondary Free School opening in west Reading in September 2015. Sharma supported the West Reading Education Network in getting the new school approved and is helping the school to find an appropriate permanent site.[17][18]

Heathrow Airport[edit]

Sharma has been a vocal supporter of Heathrow Airport in recent times and has spoken in support of increasing the number of airport runways in the South East of England, claiming that “a lack of hub capacity is costing the UK jobs and investment.” [19][20] This is despite opposition in his own constituency; in 2009 he said: “A third runway at Heathrow would inflict huge damage to the environment and to the quality of life of millions of people. It is time for the Government to abandon its plans for a third runway and, if a Conservative Government is elected, we will certainly stop this environmental disaster.” [21]

Road Safety[edit]

Following the death of two cyclists in Purley, Sharma has campaigned for longer prison sentences for those convicted of death by dangerous driving.[22] Sharma initiated a Parliamentary debate on the issue[23] and backed a petition, started by the families of victims, which gained more than 55,000 signatures.[24][25]

Rail policy[edit]

Sharma has campaigned to reduce the number of First Class carriages on trains operating on the Great Western route between Reading and London. In January 2015, he held a meeting with Rail Minister Claire Perry and First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood to discuss proposals to increase Standard Class capacity to reduce overcrowding.[26]

Flooding[edit]

In February 2014 Sharma criticised Labour leader Ed Miliband during the latter's visit to Purley which had been badly affected by flooding. Sharma claimed that the visit was merely a photo opportunity for Miliband. Miliband responded by saying that he had come 'for the people of your constituency'.[27][28]

East West Leaders’ Forum[edit]

Sharma set up the East West Leaders’ Forum, a discussion forum between business leaders, to promote dialogue between Europe, India and China. Theresa May, then Home Secretary, gave the keynote speech at the inaugural event which was held in London in September 2014.[29][30]

Brexit[edit]

Sharma was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[31]

Grenfell fire[edit]

As the Minister of State for Housing, Sharma is the minister responsible for the Government's response to the Grenfell Tower fire. He attracted media attention when he was visibly moved while making a statement to the House of Commons on 5 July 2017.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

Sharma is married and lives in Caversham with his wife and two daughters.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alok Sharma MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Coates, Sam (9 January 2018). "May tries to inject fresh blood into government". The Times. London. Retrieved 9 January 2018.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ Stanford, Peter (15 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: 'She gave us a chance to climb up the social ladder'". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c "As Reading West MP prepares to stand down the contest hots up". Newbury Today. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Who's Who". 
  6. ^ "Alok Sharma". 
  7. ^ "Reading West parliamentary constituency - Election 2017" – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  8. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons,. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Feb 2011 (pt 0003)". 
  9. ^ "Membership - Treasury Committee". 
  10. ^ "'Corrupt' banks sold useless card insurance to 2million customers". 
  11. ^ "Good news for Alok". 
  12. ^ "Alok Sharma MP, Reading West - TheyWorkForYou". 
  13. ^ getreading (11 September 2012). "Alok Sharma becomes Tory vice-chairman". 
  14. ^ "British MP Alok Sharma named CF India co-chairman". 
  15. ^ "New housing minister appointed to replace Barwell". 
  16. ^ Cassell, Paul (7 August 2013). "Reading's first free school picks up 'outstanding' Ofsted report". 
  17. ^ http://www.wrenschool.org/who/alok-sharma-mp
  18. ^ Fort, Linda (4 December 2013). "Parents win victory in Elvian School site planning battle". 
  19. ^ "Alok Sharma MP: Heathrow helps to drive the nation's economic powerhouse - Conservative Home". 
  20. ^ http://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/reading/articles/2014/05/14/100238-reading-west-mp-alok-sharma-welcomes-vital-multibillion-pound-plans-to-expand-heathrow/
  21. ^ Fort, Linda (25 November 2009). "Community unites against Heathrow runway plan". 
  22. ^ Adkins, Natasha (8 December 2014). "Fiancées of two cyclists killed by drink-driver continue their campaign for change in sentencing law". 
  23. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons,. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 04 Nov 2014 (pt 0002)". 
  24. ^ Adkins, Natasha (5 November 2014). "Purley cyclists' deaths lead to parliamentary debate on sentencing for dangerous driving". 
  25. ^ "Archived Petition: Driver receives maximum sentence of 14 years per person that has been killed". 
  26. ^ Low, Jonathan (15 January 2015). "Alok Sharma: There's still more to be done on First Great Western trains". 
  27. ^ Fort, Hugh (13 February 2015). "Alok Sharma Vs Ed Miliband: the day the Labour leader got an earful in Purley". 
  28. ^ "Reading West MP Alok Sharma brands Labour leader Ed Miliband a "Westminster flood tourist" after party supremo visits flood stricken Purley". 
  29. ^ "Subscribe to read". 
  30. ^ "Home Secretary's speech at the inaugural East West Forum - Speeches - GOV.UK". 
  31. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  32. ^ Murphy, Joe (5 July 2017). "Housing minister Alok Sharma wipes away tears after telling Commons of meeting with Grenfell Tower fire survivors". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  33. ^ "Grenfell fire: Minister visibly moved in Commons". BBC. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Martin Salter
Member of Parliament
for Reading West

2010–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for Asia and the Pacific

2016–2017
Succeeded by
Mark Field
as Minister of State
Preceded by
Gavin Barwell
Minister of State
for Housing and Planning

2017–2018
Succeeded by
Dominic Raab
Preceded by
Damian Hinds
Minister of State for Employment
2018–present
Incumbent