Emma Dent Coad

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Emma Dent Coad
Member of Parliament
for Kensington
In office
8 June 2017 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byVictoria Borwick
Succeeded byFelicity Buchan
Member of Kensington and Chelsea Council
for Golborne
Assumed office
4 May 2006
Serving with Pat Mason and Sina Lari
Personal details
Margaret Mary Dent

(1954-11-02) 2 November 1954 (age 68)
Stepney, London, England
Political partyNone (independent[1])
Other political
Labour (until 2023)
  • (m. 1978; div. 1982)
  • David Blott
    (m. 1984; div. 1997)
Alma materRoyal College of Art
University of Liverpool

Emma Dent Coad (born Margaret Mary Dent, 2 November 1954)[2][3] is a British politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Kensington from 2017 to 2019. A former member of the Labour Party, she has been a Member of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council since 2006. She resigned her Labour membership on 27 April 2023,[1] but remains on the local council as an independent councillor.

Early life and education[edit]

Dent Coad was born in Stepney,[3] the youngest of six children. Her father, Charles Enrique Dent CBE, was a professor of medicine of half Spanish descent, and her mother, Margaret Ruth Coad, was an Anglican vicar's daughter who converted to Catholicism to marry him.[4] She grew up in Chelsea.[5] She went to Sacred Heart High School, a selective grammar school in Hammersmith, London.[4][6]

She graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in History of Design in 1992.[7] Dent Coad has written or contributed to a number of books on architecture and design, including on Javier Mariscal,[8] and is studying at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture for a PhD on "Constructing Modern Spain: Architecture, Politics and Ideology under Franco, 1939–1975",[9] which she put on hold on being elected MP.[10]

Political career[edit]

Local government[edit]

Dent Coad was first elected to represent Golborne ward on Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council in 2006,[11] and served as the leader of the opposition and leader of the council's Labour Group from 2014 to 2015.[12]

As a councillor, she has held the following committee and group memberships:

Grenfell Tower[edit]

Just days after Dent Coad's election, the Grenfell Tower fire took place in her then constituency. On 16 June, she blamed the Kensington and Chelsea council for failings which led to the fire.[17] Dent Coad considers the fire an "entirely preventable" tragedy. Dent Coad said, “I can't help thinking that poor quality materials and construction standards may have played a part in this hideous and unforgivable event.” Dent Coad links the council's intention to redevelop the area to the tragedy, she said, “The council want to develop this area full of social housing, and in order to enable that they have prettified a building that they felt was ugly ... The idea that that has led to this horrendous tragedy is just unthinkable.”

She has campaigned for permanent new homes in the area for victims of the tragedy rather than, "some mucky bedsit". She has added “People are very afraid of what is going to happen next. They need to be kept within Kensington. The fear I was hearing yesterday was "they're going to send us to Peterborough or to Hastings", all the other places that the council has tried to send them before. People want to stay near their networks where their children go to school, where their families are.”[17] Poverty in Kensington and the fire were the subjects of her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 22 June 2017.[18]

On 4 July 2017, Dent Coad said that residents had no confidence in Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry, describing him as "a technocrat" who lacked "credibility".[19] She supported calls for "reparations" to the community in the form of restoring local assets and services such as a college and a library which were under threat, and claims that many on the council see those in social housing as "lesser beings."[20]

Dent Coad supports a call for the leaders of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council to resign so that there could be fresh elections.[21] Her predecessor, Victoria Borwick, has claimed that she shared "collective responsibility" for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, since Dent Coad had (until October 2012) sat on the board of the Kensington and Chelsea TMO which managed the tower. In a council meeting on 8 November 2012, Dent Coad praised the refurbishment announcement of the Grenfell Tower which she said showed that the council had listened to residents. This is usually taken[by whom?] to mean the refurbishment that includes installing the cladding, however as the cladding was installed in the summer of 2016, 4 years after the alleged comment.[22] However, Dent Coad has asked Borwick to retract this claim, arguing that she supported refurbishment in principle to respond to complaints about conditions, but left the TMO around the time that the broad principles of the refurbishment were agreed.[citation needed] She was not present when Rydon was provided with the contract,[23] or when the decision was reportedly taken to save money on external cladding.[24]

In a 2014/15 report, in which Dent Coad's name appears, it is reported that the housing scrutiny committee looked at the refurbishment.[25] It is often used[by whom?] to ascribe responsibility to Dent Coad for the cladding, even though the cladding was installed May–June 2016 so the report is actually about a completely different refurbishment.[citation needed] Facing the claim that she was partly responsible, she angrily rejected the accusation, saying: "I didn't make any of the decisions. I didn't sign the document,".[26] Dent Coad issued a detailed rebuttal via a local blog, From the Hornet's Nest,[27] refuting the most common accusations.

Dent Coad has been critical of Universal Credit generally and also critical of a decision to roll out Universal Credit in Kensington shortly before Christmas 2018. Claimants must wait five weeks for the first payment which Dent Coad maintains is unacceptable. Dent Coad did not want yet more pain inflicted on families that have, "already lost so much" in the Grenfell fire. Dent Coad said, "It's unthinkable, they're going to have another Christmas now wondering whether they can afford to buy food, let alone presents for their children." Dent Coad stated that asking for advances for Christmas would result in people experiencing, "many future months without enough income to cover their expenses".[28]

On 17 June 2022 Dent Coad said, "On this day in 2017, 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire. Half a decade on, families are still waiting for justice – and those with the power to prevent a repeat still aren't willing to use it."[29]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Dent Coad was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kensington at the 2017 snap election when she defeated the sitting Conservative MP Victoria Borwick, with a majority of 20 votes, overturning a 7,361 majority from the previous election two years earlier.[30] The declaration was made after three recounts, and was the final result declared of the 2017 UK general election.[31]

Dent Coad supported Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour leadership election.[32] She identifies as a socialist and was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs during her time in parliament.[33]

On 29 June 2017, Dent Coad voted against the Labour party whip and for an amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for the UK's continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union following Brexit.[34] Dent Coad has stated that she "will always campaign to remain in the EU" as "[her] wish for Kensington and for the country is to stay within the EU, reform regulations that do not work for us, and spend revenue fairly across the country."[35]

Dent Coad is a republican: she joined pressure group Republic in 2005 and is a former board member.[36] In June 2018, she suggested that the Royal family move out of Buckingham Palace and that it should be open to public access, given the public contribution of one third of a billion pounds to its cost of refurbishment.[37]

In the 2019 United Kingdom general election, Dent Coad was defeated by the Conservative Party candidate Felicity Buchan, who at 17,768 votes had a majority over Dent Coad of 150.[38]


In September 2017, Dent Coad was the subject of press criticism for comments about Prince Harry and his role as a British Army Apache helicopter pilot which she then withdrew.[39][40] She later said that her remarks had been "a joke" which had been "taken the wrong way".[41]

In November 2017, Dent Coad was criticised for retweeting a post on Twitter using a quotation from Roald Dahl's children's book The Twits to suggest that the Prime Minister Theresa May was 'ugly' due to her 'ugly thoughts', whereas Jeremy Corbyn had 'good thoughts' and was 'lovely'. Conservative MP George Freeman said: "The re-appearance of misogyny and racial prejudice in Corbyn's Labour Party isn't a surprise".[42]

In November 2017, it emerged that Dent Coad had, in 2010, described Shaun Bailey, then a Conservative parliamentary candidate, now a London Assembly member, as a "token ghetto boy". In the same blog post, she quoted an anonymous former neighbour of Bailey who had described him as a "free-loading scumbag".[43] She wrote that Bailey was being "used" by the Conservative Party and asked: "Who can say where this man will ever fit in, however hard he tries?" She proceeded to state that if Bailey were to win his seat "he will no longer be welcome in North Ken[sington]".[43] Bailey subsequently called the comments "racist" and "hate-filled".[44] Dent Coad later apologised for "any offence caused".[45]

Personal life[edit]

Dent Coad was married to Sir Hadley Gregory D'Oyly, 15th Baronet from 1978 to 1982. In 1984, she married David Blott, with whom she had three children; the couple divorced in 1997.[46] She has lived in North Kensington since 1986.[47][48]

After the 2019 United Kingdom general election, she announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer on 14 November 2019, and had surgery to remove it on 9 December. Dent Coad stated that she had not announced her diagnosis earlier as she did not want to impact her re-election campaign.[49]

Dent Coad quit the Labour Party on 27 April 2023.[1] When asked why, she told Counterfire that there were many reasons: including Keir Starmer's crackdown on dissent, his reneging on pledges and the ignoring of anti-black racism, but the final straw for her was being told to remove a Facebook post criticising Starmer for taking £1,000 worth of hospitality from Mulalley & Co, a company that was fined £10 million for providing defective cladding.[50]


  1. ^ a b c Jones, Morgan (27 April 2023). "Ex-Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad quits "unrecognisable" Labour party". LabourList. Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  2. ^ "Emma Dent Coad MP". myparliament.info. MyParliament. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b Addley, Esther (30 June 2017). "Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad on Grenfell: 'Safety shouldn't be an aspiration' | UK news". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  5. ^ Dent Coad, Emma (2022). "Introduction". One Kensington: Tales from the Frontline of the Most Unequal Borough in Britain. Quercus Publishing. ISBN 9781529417265.
  6. ^ "Councillors". kensingtonlabour.com. Kensington Labour. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  7. ^ Aouf, Rima Sabina (12 June 2017). "First Labour MP in London's Kensington is a design writer who plans to fight gentrification". Dezeen. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  8. ^ Dent Coad, Emma (1991). Javier Mariscal: designing the new Spain. London, New York: Fourth Estate and Wordsearch Rizzoli. ISBN 9780847813575.
  9. ^ "Current PhD Students". liverpool.ac.uk. School of Architecture, University of Liverpool.
  10. ^ The Daily Politics, BBC, 13 June 2017
  11. ^ "Welcome to Golborne Ward". rbkc.gov.uk. Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  12. ^ "June | 2014 | Kensington Labour Party". kensingtonlabour.com. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Emma Dent Coad – Personal appointments". Companies House. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  14. ^ "RKBC Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee membership". rbkc.gov.uk. Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Members". rbkc.gov.uk. Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Councillor Emma Dent Coad". moderngov.london-fire.gov.uk. London Fire Brigade. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b Gentleman, Amelia (15 June 2017). "'Unforgivable': local Labour MP vents fury over Grenfell Tower fire". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  18. ^ Details:
  19. ^ "Grenfell fire: MP calls for inquiry chairman to quit". BBC News. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  20. ^ ""Developers can get away with murder" – an interview with Kensington's Emma Dent Coad". openDemocracy. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Grenfell Tower fire: New council leader heckled by public". BBC News. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  22. ^ "Minutes of a meeting of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee at Kensington Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday 8 November 2012". Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council. 8 November 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Grenfell Tower refurbishment contract agreed". rbkc.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  24. ^ Booth, Robert; Grierson, Jamie (30 June 2017). "Grenfell cladding approved by residents was swapped for cheaper version". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Labour's new Kensington MP was on housing scrutiny committee". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  26. ^ Addley, Esther (30 June 2017). "Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad on Grenfell: 'Safety shouldn't be an aspiration'". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  27. ^ Hornetsnest (1 August 2017). "FTHN: From the Hornets Nest: FALSE ACCUSATION RE: GRENFELL....A FACTCHECK". FTHN. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  28. ^ "Grenfell Tower MP calls for Universal Credit launch delay". BBC News. 8 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Five Years of Failing Grenfell".
  30. ^ Slawson, Nicola (9 June 2017). "Labour rounds off remarkable election with narrow victory in Kensington". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  31. ^ Simpson, Fiona (9 June 2017). "General Election 2017: Labour's Emma Dent Coad wins Kensington seat after THIRD recount". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  32. ^ Coad, Emma Dent (11 August 2016). "Just made a donation to Jeremy for Labour". @emmadentcoad. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  33. ^ Miller, Phil (2 May 2019). "What's not to like about socialism?". Morning Star. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  34. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (29 June 2017). "Labour's Brexit rebellion: All the MPs who defied Jeremy Corbyn over Single Market membership". The Independent. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  35. ^ "Brexit". Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  36. ^ "imagine: a democratic alternative to the monarchy" (PDF). Republic. Autumn 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  37. ^ Culbertson, Alix (8 June 2018). "Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad says Queen should move out of Buckingham Palace for public". Sky News. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  38. ^ "Election of a Member of Parliament for Kensington on Thursday 12 December 2019", Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea website, accessed 22 December 2019.
  39. ^ "Emma Dent Coad: If I've made a mistake about Prince Harry's flying credentials 'I will hold my hands up'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  40. ^ Weaver, Matthew (27 September 2017). "Angela Rayner defends Prince Harry after Labour MP mocks his military record". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  41. ^ "Joke about Prince Harry taken the wrong way, Labour MP claims". East Lothian Courier. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  42. ^ Horton, Helena (27 November 2017). "Emma Dent Coad criticised for sexism after sharing post calling Theresa May ugly". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  43. ^ a b Coad, Emma Dent (19 April 2010). "Emma Dent Coad's blog: 'This is my posh voice' - local boy done good, or, nostalgie de la boue?". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  44. ^ Maidment, Jack (13 November 2017). "Labour MP described black Tory candidate as a 'token ghetto boy'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 May 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  45. ^ "Emma Dent Coad MP apologises over 'racist blog post'". BBC News. 14 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  46. ^ Dale, Iain; Smith, Jacqui, eds. (2019). The Honourable Ladies: Volume II. Biteback. ISBN 9781785902451. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  47. ^ "Our parliamentary candidate for Kensington". kensingtonlabour.com. Kensington Labour. May 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  48. ^ Dent Coad, Emma (17 June 2017). "For years, I've seen Kensington's poor treated with disdain". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  49. ^ "Ousted Labour MP reveals breast cancer diagnosis". BBC News. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  50. ^ Nineham, Chris (29 April 2023). "'I will not be silenced': Emma Dent Coad on why she has left Labour". Counterfire. Retrieved 2 May 2023.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Kensington

Succeeded by