Parmjit Dhanda

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Parmjit Singh Dhanda
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
29 June 2007 – 4 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Angela Smith
Succeeded by Sadiq Khan
Member of Parliament
for Gloucester
In office
8 June 2001 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Tess Kingham
Succeeded by Richard Graham
Majority 4,271 (8.2%)
Personal details
Born (1971-09-17) 17 September 1971 (age 44)
London Borough of Hillingdon
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Rupi Dhanda
Alma mater University of Nottingham
Religion Sikhism

Parmjit Singh Dhanda (born 17 September 1971) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gloucester from the 2001 to 2010 general elections, succeeding Tess Kingham as the Labour MP for the seat.


Born in London to Indian immigrants of Sikh Punjabi background; his mother was a cleaner at a local hospital, whilst his father was a lorry driver. He was educated at Mellow Lane School, a state Comprehensive School in Hayes, Middlesex, before attending the University of Nottingham, where he received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1993, and a MA in information technology in 1995.

Parmjit Dhanda was the first ever Minister to serve in the UK Government of Indian Heritage and remains the only Sikh Minister to date.

Dhanda is married with two children. He has been a member of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) since 1999. He speaks Punjabi and French, in addition to English.

Political career[edit]

Parmjit Dhanda became a Labour Party organiser in West London, Hampshire and Wiltshire in 1996, then went on to be assistant national organiser with Connect in 1998 where he remained until he was elected to Westminster. He was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Hillingdon in 1998 and served on the council until 2002. As a member of Labour's list for the 1999 European Parliament election, he became the country's youngest Euro Candidate, aged 27.

He was selected to contest the House of Commons seat of Gloucester at the 2001 general election - the seat Labour required for a parliamentary majority of 1 - following the decision of Tess Kingham to stand down. He made his maiden speech on 27 June 2001, in which he made reference to the local newspaper's article stating (upon his selection by the Labour Party) that "the people of Gloucester had not reached a sufficiently advanced state of consciousness to accept a 'foreigner' as the local MP".[1] In parliament, Dhanda became a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee from his election until 2003. He helped set up an all-party group on Telecommunications, of which he was Secretary. In December, 2004 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Schools Stephen Twigg.

Dhanda held his seat in 2005 with an increased majority of 4,280. After the election, Dhanda was appointed to the post of Assistant Government Whip. In May 2006 he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families in the Department for Education and Skills. In this post, he implemented the Green Paper 'Care Matters', introducing radical new measures of support for 30,000 children in the care system. On 29 June 2007 he moved to the Department of Communities and Local Government. Following the cabinet reshuffle of 3 October 2008, he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, community cohesion and planning.

In 2003, Parmjit was asked by the Prime Minister to second the Queens Humble Address to the Houses of Parliament

In his time as Gloucester's MP he worked to ensure a £30 million redevelopment of the local hospital was completed, he intervened to ensure completion of a £22 million police headquarters and the constituency attained university status with a £20 million university campus. With the backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair he helped set up an urban regeneration company for the constituency and then oversaw delicate negotiations between Peel Holdings, British Waterways and the Regional Development Agency to build a £35 million further education college and a £200 million shopping centre in the Docks. This resulted in over 1,000 local retail and construction jobs.

In 2009 he fought a high profile and radical campaign to be Speaker of the House of Commons, winning plaudits for his hustings speech from all three party leaders.[2]

In the 2010 general election, Dhanda lost his seat to the Conservative Richard Graham.

After the 2010 general election he became a non-executive director of Hanover Housing Association - an association specialising in housing and support for the elderly and as Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer for the Prospect Trade Union.

In 2014 he commissioned research which was published in the Guardian about the lack of representation of BME communities in the Houses of Parliament.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tess Kingham
Member of Parliament for Gloucester
Succeeded by
Richard Graham
Political offices
Preceded by
Maria Eagle
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families
Succeeded by
Kevin Brennan
Preceded by
Angela Smith
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Succeeded by
Sadiq Khan