Janet Daby

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Janet Daby
Official portrait of Janet Daby MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
In office
10 July 2020 – 7 December 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byGill Furniss
Succeeded byCharlotte Nichols
Shadow Minister for Faiths
In office
9 April 2020 – 7 December 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded bySarah Owen
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham East
Assumed office
14 June 2018
Preceded byHeidi Alexander
Majority17,008 (38.0%)
Personal details
Janet Jessica Sarju

(1970-12-15) 15 December 1970 (age 52)
Political partyLabour
Donald Daby
(m. 2003)
Residence(s)Lewisham, London
EducationLondon School of Economics
WebsiteOfficial website

Janet Jessica Daby (née Sarju; born 15 December 1970)[1] is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Lewisham East since 2018. A member of the Labour Party, she was Shadow Minister for Faiths from April to December 2020 and a Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities from July to December 2020.

Early life[edit]

Janet Jessica Sarju was born to parents who were Windrush migrants from Guyana and Jamaica.[2][1][3] She was brought up on a council estate where, as a child, racists pelted her windows with eggs three nights in a row.[4] She attended Blackheath Bluecoat School in Greenwich.[2] She worked in volunteer management and children's social care, acting as a registered fostering manager.[5]

Political career[edit]

Daby was elected as a Lewisham borough councillor at the 2010 local elections, in which she gained the Whitefoot ward from the Liberal Democrats and received the most votes of the three elected candidates.[6][7] She was re-elected in 2014 and 2018, also topping the poll on these occasions. In addition, Daby served as deputy mayor of the London Borough of Lewisham during this period.[5][8] In 2013, she founded the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food + Project, which she also became a director of.[1]

A by-election was triggered in Lewisham East by the resignation of the incumbent Labour MP Heidi Alexander in May 2018; the seat, which included Daby's Whitefoot ward, has generally been considered safe for the Labour Party in recent years. Daby was selected as Labour's by-election candidate after hustings involving an all-women shortlist.[9] She retained the seat for Labour at the June 2018 by-election with 50.2% of the vote, although Labour's majority was reduced by 19.3%.[10] In response to ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, Daby pledged to fight for the UK to remain in the European Union customs union and the single market.[11]

Daby announced her resignation as a Lewisham councillor on 20 March 2019, to concentrate on her role as an MP, noting that she would continue to represent Whitefoot residents in the Houses of Parliament.[12] She was re-elected to Parliament at the December 2019 general election with 26,661 votes, representing a majority of 17,008.[13]

On 9 April 2020, Daby was given her first shadow ministerial post by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer as Shadow Minister for Faiths. She also became a Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities in July 2020.[14]

She resigned from the front bench on 7 December 2020, after she suggested that registrars who have a religious objection to same-sex marriage should be protected from losing their jobs if they refuse to certify the partnership, an action which would be viewed as unlawful discrimination. She later apologised for her remarks.[15][16]

Daby was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the shadow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs team on 4 December 2021.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Daby married Donald Daby in 2003; the couple have a son and a daughter.[1] She has lived in Lewisham for over 20 years.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Daby, Janet Jessica, (born 15 Dec. 1970), MP (Lab) Lewisham East, since June 2018". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2018. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U291315. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4.
  2. ^ a b Simpson, Fiona (15 June 2018). "Lewisham East by-election result: Who is Labour's Janet Daby?". London Evening Standard.
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Bloom, Dan (15 June 2018). "Who is Janet Daby? Profile of Labour's newest MP after victory in Lewisham East by-election". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Janet Daby: our candidate for Lewisham East". Labour in London. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Lewisham Councillors Janet Daby and Alex Feis-Bryce stand down". Lewisham Labour Party. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Councillor Janet Daby". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  8. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (19 May 2018). "Blow for Jeremy Corbyn as Janet Daby named Labour candidate for Lewisham East by-election". PoliticsHome. Dods Parliamentary Communications. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Lewisham East by-election: Janet Daby chosen to stand for Labour". BBC News. 19 May 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Labour's Janet Daby wins Lewisham East in by-election". BBC News. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  11. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (18 May 2018). "Lewisham East by-election: Brexit becomes key dividing line in contest to replace Heidi Alexander as Labour candidate". The Independent. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Lewisham Councillors Janet Daby and Alex Feis-Bryce stand down". Lewisham Labour. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  13. ^ Somerville, Ewan (13 December 2019). "Lewisham East constituency results 2019: Labour's Janet Daby wins". London Evening Standard. ESI Media. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  14. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (10 July 2020). "Janet Daby will be joining the women and equalities team as Shadow Minister for Faiths, Women and Equalities". Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Sleigh, Sophia (7 December 2020). "Labour shadow minister Janet Daby resigns after saying registrars have right to object to gay marriage". Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  16. ^ Bychawski, Adam (1 July 2022). "20 MPs took staff from anti-abortion group seeking to replicate US backlash". openDemocracy. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  17. ^ Smith, Mikey (4 December 2021). "Full list of all the junior shadow ministers in Keir Starmer's Labour frontbench". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 December 2021.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Lewisham East