Rehman Chishti

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Rehman Chishti
Rehman Chishti MP
Member of Parliament
for Gillingham and Rainham
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Paul Clark
Majority 10,530 (22.4%)
Personal details
Born (1978-10-04) 4 October 1978 (age 36)
Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Aberystwyth University
Committees Justice Select Committee (2013–), Joint Committee on Human Rights (2010–2013)

Atta-Ur-Rehman Chishti[1] known as Rehman Chishti رحمن چشتی (born 4 October 1978)[2] is a British Conservative politician who was elected MP for Gillingham and Rainham in the 2010 general election.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Chishti was born in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Administered Kashmir on 4 October 1978. His father Abdul Rehman Chishti had been appointed Federal Adviser on religious affairs to the Prime Minister of Pakistani Administered Kashmir in 1976 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan. He left Kashmir and Pakistan in 1978 to take up a post as an Imam in the UK, soon after Bhutto's was overthrown by a military coup by General Zia-ul-Haq, who later executed Bhutto. Rehman Chishti did not see his father for the first six years of his life. He along with his mother and elder sister joined his father in 1984 in the UK at the age of six, and ever since has lived in Gillingham and Rainham.[4]

Chishti attended Richmond Infant School (now Burnt Oak Primary school), Napier Primary School, Fort Luton High School for Boys (now Bishop of Rochester Academy), Rainham Mark Grammar School Sixth Form, and Chatham Grammar School for Girls (mixed boys and girls sixth form).[5] He was Head Boy at Fort Luton High School, and captain of the school cricket team. He also captained Hempstead Colts Cricket Club in Gillingham, in which he took his best bowling figures of 5 wickets for 7 runs against Lordswood Colts, which led him to play for Medway District and Kent Schools in the Pawson trophy. He also played football with Royal Princes Park youth team where he was given the award for player of the year.[6]

Chishti read law at University of Wales Aberystwyth,[7] followed by Inns of Court School of Law where he did his Barristers vocational course. He had to supplement his studies by working at Tesco main store in Gillingham, and the Link Mobile phone shop in Hempstead Valley shopping centre in Gillingham.

Legal career[edit]

Chishti was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Lincoln's Inn in 2001. He undertook pupillage at Goldsmith Chambers and was taken on as a tenant. Chishti prosecuted and defended cases in the Magistrates' and Crown courts. He has appeared in the Court of Appeal: R v R [2007] EWCA Crim 3312; Attorney General's Reference (No. 20 of 2005), R v May [2005] All ER (D) 359 (Jun). He is currently an Honorary Door Tenant at Red Lion Chambers.[8][9]

Political career[edit]

Chishti served as a Political Adviser to Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan 1999-2007.[4] In September 2004 in a meeting in Islamabad with Mark Lyall Grant, the then High Commissioner to Pakistan, Chishti, acting on behalf of Benazir Bhutto, committed Ms Bhutto to talks with the Government of Pakistan for the transition to Democracy with the United Kingdom acting as the facilitators. Chishti followed this up by attending every meeting Ms Bhutto had with British diplomats, both in Dubai and London, including the British Foreign Office in London accompanying Ms Bhutto and acting on her behalf. This included meetings with the then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in 2005, and David Miliband in 2007.

At the 2005 General Election, Chishti stood as the Labour Party candidate for the Horsham constituency, but came third, polling 17%.[10] He later joined the Conservative Party, and was selected as the candidate for the marginal seat of Gillingham and Rainham, whose predecessor seat of Gillingham had been held by Labour by less than 300 votes in 2005. Benazir Bhutto visited Gillingham and Rainham Constituency in Kent for a Constituency Dinner on 28 August 2007, to support Chishti, where she told the audience, "Rehman being the Parliamentary candidate for Gillingham is my loss and Gillingham's gain".[11] In 2001 in a note to Rehman Chishti in her biography she described him as her most brilliant assistant.

Chishti accompanying Benazir Bhutto to a meeting at the Foreign Office in 2005 with the then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Also in attendance is Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the former High Commissioner of Pakistan.

Chishti represented the Gillingham North Ward from 2003–2007 and the Rainham Central Ward since 2007 on Medway Council.[12] He was appointed to the Medway Council's Cabinet in 2007 as the Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, becoming the youngest Cabinet Member in Medway's history.[13] He also served as an Adviser to Francis Maude (against whom Chishti had stood in Horsham in 2005) on diversity when Maude was Chairman of the Conservative Party in 2006.[14]

Chishti was elected Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham in 2010 at the age of 31, to represent his home towns of Gillingham and Rainham. The New Statesman listed Chishti as among the 20 MPs under 40 who are the best of their generation and who have what it takes to be the next Prime Minister.[15] The Telegraph newspaper described him as a rising star of the party.[16]

Chishti is a Member of the Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons, having previously been a Member of the Joint Committee of the Human Rights Committee.[17] He is passionate about sports and has served as the parliamentary fellow for Sport England,[18] and is currently the parliamentary fellow for the Football Association.[19]

In 2011 Chishti was listed by the BBC as one of the most frequent speakers in Parliament from the intake of 2010.[20] Despite his Labour background, in 2012 Chishti was named by Conservative Home as one of a minority of loyal Conservative backbench MPs not to have voted against the government in any significant rebellions.[21]

In 2013 Chishti was named parliamentarian of the year by the road safety charity Brake for his work in Parliament championing road safety issues,[22] including getting his private members bill adopted by the Government to increase the sentence for those who cause death by driving, when then the motorist had been banned from driving in the first place. The government agreed to increase the maximum custodial sentence to 10 years from the initial 2 years maximum custody.[23]

In July 2014, he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Education. In May 2015, he took a similar position with Jeremy Wright, the Attorney General.

Chishti is a regular newspaper reviewer on Sky News.


  1. ^ List of members returned to serve in Parliament in the 2010 General Election London Gazette, 13 May 2010
  2. ^ a b "Rehman Chishti MP". Democracy Live. BBC News. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Rehman Chishti - MP for Gillingham and Rainham". Rehman Chishti. 
  4. ^ a b Macrory, Sam (11 October 2010). "The rebirth of Rehman". Politics Home. 
  5. ^ "About Rehman". Rehman Chishti. 
  6. ^ "Rehman Chishti MP: How the Olympics legacy could help to tackle obesity and boost health". Conservative Home. 7 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Aberystwyth at Westminster". Aberystwyth University. 19 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Honorary Door Tenants". 18 Red Lion Court. Red Lion Chambers. 
  9. ^ "Rehman Chishti MP". 18 Red Lion Court. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Walters, Simon (11 November 2007). "The Tory boy plotting Benazir's "revolution"... from Gillingham". Daily Mail. 
  12. ^ "Councillor Rehman Chishti". Medway Council. 
  13. ^ "Cllr Chishti goes walkabout in Chatham: Media invite". Medway Council. 22 May 2007. 
  14. ^ "Ex-Labour man defects to Tories". BBC News. 15 March 2006. 
  15. ^ "20 under 40: meet parliament's rising stars". New Statesman. 23 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Bingham, John (16 December 2012). "MPs and Peers launch gay marriage rebellion saying Cameron has 'no mandate". The Telegraph. 
  17. ^ "Rehman Chishti MP". UK Parliament. 
  18. ^ "England's MPs discover about the Olympic and Paralympic legacy in their area". Sport England. 
  19. ^ "The FA welcomes Rehman Chishti MP to its fellowship scheme". Rehman Chishti. 12 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Stamp, Gavin (11 July 2011). "MPs' Class of 2010: End of term report". BBC News. 
  21. ^ Barrett, Matthew. "The 24 Conservative MPs who are still on the backbenches and have never rebelled". Conservative Home. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Local MP wins prestigious award for outstanding contribution to road safety". Brake. 15 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "Justice for victims of banned drivers". Ministry of Justice. 6 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Clark
Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham