|Shadow Minister for Faiths, Women and Equalities|
9 April 2020 – 7 December 2020
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Member of Parliament|
for Lewisham East
|Assumed office |
14 June 2018
|Preceded by||Heidi Alexander|
Janet Jessica Sarju
15 December 1970
Janet Jessica Daby (née Sarju; born 15 December 1970) is a British Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the parliamentary constituency of Lewisham East in London. Daby won the seat at a by-election held on 14 June 2018, and was re-elected at the 2019 general election.
Janet Jessica Sarju was born to parents who were Windrush migrants from Guyana and Jamaica. She was brought up on a council estate where, as a child, racists pelted her windows with eggs three nights in a row. She attended Blackheath Bluecoat School in Greenwich. She worked in volunteer management and children's social care, acting as a registered fostering manager.
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. 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. In 2013, she founded the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food + Project, which she also became a director of.
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. 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%. 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.
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. She was re-elected to Parliament at the December 2019 general election with 26,661 votes, representing a majority of 17,008. Daby was given her first shadow ministerial post on 9 April 2020 by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer as Shadow Minister for Faiths. She resigned from this post 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.
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- Sleigh, Sophia (7 December 2020). "Labour shadow minister Janet Daby resigns after saying registrars have right to object to gay marriage". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 December 2020.