Sheerman in June 2017
|Chair of the Education Select Committee|
|Preceded by||Malcolm Wicks|
|Succeeded by||Graham Stuart|
|Shadow Minister of State for Social Security |
(Shadow Minister for Disabled People)
8 July 1992 – 12 May 1994
|Succeeded by||Tom Clarke (1995)|
|Member of Parliament |
Huddersfield East (1979–1983)
|Assumed office |
3 May 1979
|Preceded by||Joseph Mallalieu|
|Born||17 August 1940|
Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, England
|Political party||Labour Co-operative|
|Alma mater||London School of Economics, University of London|
Sheerman was born on 17 August 1940 in Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex and went to Hampton Grammar School (which became the independent Hampton School in 1975) on Hanworth Road in Hampton then Kingston Technical College. He was educated at the London School of Economics (BSc Economics 1965) and at the University of London (MSc 1967). He became a lecturer at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1966 and remained there until his election to parliament in 1979.
Sheerman unsuccessfully contested Taunton in the October 1974 election, and became the MP for Huddersfield East from 1979 to 1983 and for Huddersfield since the 1983 general election. Sheerman has held the Huddersfield seats since, with his majority as low as 3,955 in 1983 and as high as 15,848 in the 1997 general election. In the most recent general election in 2017, Sheerman's majority was increased to 12,005 with a swing of 4.7% to Labour.
From 1983 to 1988, Sheerman was the Labour spokesperson on education and employment; for Home Affairs (as Shadow Deputy Home Secretary) from 1988 to 1992; and for Disabled People's Rights from 1992 to 1994. He was Chair of the House of Commons Education and Skills select committee from 2001 to 2010, renamed the Children, Schools and Families Committee in 2007. Under his chairmanship, the Committee was often critical of government policy. Sheerman warned the government not to "lose their nerve" over reforming secondary education exam system back in 2005, and in 2006 said it was "naive" to allocate local school places through parental choice, with lottery selection being the best way to avoid "bloody awful" schools existing as a side effect of parents pushing for their children to study elsewhere. During Sheerman's chairmanship, the select committee produced reports on subjects such as home education, education outside the classroom, and young people not in education employment or training (NEETs).
He is Chair of the Labour Forum for Criminal Justice and of the Cross-Party Advisory Group on Preparation for European Monetary Union. Outside parliament, he is Chair of the National Educational Research and Development Trust, and a trustee of the National Children's Centre. His political interests are listed as trade, industry, finance, further education, education, economy, the European Union, South America and the United States. His recreations include walking, biography and films. In 1993, Sheerman co-wrote, with Isaac Kramnick, a biography of the Labour intellectual Harold Laski.
In June 2009, Sheerman called for a secret ballot of the Parliamentary Labour Party on whether Gordon Brown should continue in office as prime minister. This followed widespread criticism of Brown's performance and the resignation of Cabinet member James Purnell. Sheerman later reassured his local party chairman that he had not directly called for Brown's resignation.
Sheerman called for a London catering company to employ "English workers" in a Twitter exchange on 23 April 2012. The comments reached the national press. In response Sheerman said the objection to him speaking out was "pernicious political correctness".
He is founder and chairman of Policy Connect, a cross-party, not-for-profit based in London, where he regularly chairs seminar events and research inquiries. He is also chair and co-chair of a number of official All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, and the Bullying All-Party Group. Since 2012, Sheerman has led the Schools to Work Commission, the Labour Party's policy review on the transition from education to employment.
In June 2015, Sheerman caused controversy when he argued that lowering the voting age to 16, by reducing childhood, might raise the risk of sexual abuse.
Sheerman voted for the triggering of Article 50 (the trigger for leaving the EU). Kirklees, which his constituency falls within, saw 55% of its residents vote in the 2016 EU referendum to leave the EU. In October 2017, Sheerman appeared on television and announced that he believed that remain vote came mostly from the better educated people in the country.
Barry Sheerman married Pamela Elizabeth Brenchley in 1965 in north Surrey, with whom he has one son (born in 1978) and three daughters (born in 1970, 1972 and 1981). He lives in a flat in Almondbury, Huddersfield.
- "End A-level 'obsession', says MP". BBC. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Parental school choice 'naive'". BBC. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- Gibson, Barry (6 June 2009). "Huddersfield MP Sheerman called to account by local party members". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- Barry Gibson "Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman demands British jobs for British workers after disappointing bacon buttie", Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 25 April 2012
- "MP accused of 'xenophobia after complaining that Polish cannot make decent bacon sandwich", Daily Telegraph, 25 April 2012
- University of Warwick, 'The Schools to Work Commission'[permanent dead link]
- "Votes at 16 raises abuse risk, says MP". BBC News. 18 June 2015.
- "Labour MP: "Better Educated" Voted Remain - Guido Fawkes". 29 October 2017.
- "Barry John Sheerman at Check company". checkcompany.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- MP Homepage
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Ask Aristotle
- BBC Politics
- NEET: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training Children, Schools and Families Committee
- The Review of Elective Home Education Children, Schools and Families Committee
- Transforming Education Outside the Classroom Children, Schools and Families Committee
- Appointments in October 2009
- Single mothers hostels in September 2009
- School bully in November 2006
- Choice of schools in August 2006
- Gas safety in February 2006
- Obsession with A levels in February 2005
- Women are brighter than men in December 2004
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Huddersfield East
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Huddersfield
| Shadow Minister of State for Social Security
(Shadow Minister for Disabled People)
Title next held byTom Clarke
| Chairman, Education & Skills Select Committee
|New title|| Chairman, Children, Schools and Families Select Committee