Virendra Sharma

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Virendra Sharma
Official portrait of Mr Virendra Sharma crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Ealing Southall
Assumed office
19 July 2007
Preceded by Piara Khabra
Majority 22,090 (49.0%)[1]
Personal details
Born (1947-04-05) 5 April 1947 (age 70)
Gujranwala, British Punjab
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater London School of Economics
Occupation Politician

Virendra Kumar Sharma (born 5 April 1947[2]) is an Indian-born British Labour Party politician. He was first elected as the member of parliament (MP) for Ealing Southall in 2007.

Early life[edit]

Virendra Sharma was born in India in 1947 and educated at the London School of Economics on a trade union scholarship.[3] He speaks fluent Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.

Sharma came to Hanwell from India in 1968 and became a bus conductor on the 207 route, later working as a day services manager for people with learning disabilities in Hillingdon. He began his political career by joining the Liberal Party, then switched to Labour in later years. He was Race Equalities Officer to the Labour Party nationally.

He was a local councillor in the London Borough of Ealing from 1982–2010 and was Mayor for part of his time as councillor.[3] He was criticised by councillors from other political parties for his level of attendance at council meetings[4] and stood down as a local councillor at the 2010 local elections.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Virendra Sharma was elected as MP in the Ealing Southall by-election, held on 19 July 2007. The by-election was called following the death of the sitting Labour MP, Piara Khabra on 19 June 2007.[5] Sharma held on to the seat at the 2010 General Election. As a new MP in 2008, Sharma had signed a letter drafted by Keith Vaz on behalf of Shahrokh Mireskandari, for which Vaz was criticised for not declaring his relationship with the Miskanderi family. Sharma said that Vaz had not informed him of the relationship and that he would "be more questioning before I sign a letter in future".[6]

In November 2008, the Labour government gave Sharma the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary[7] to the Minister of State at the Treasury and Home Office, Phil Woolas, who had responsibility for borders and immigration. Sharma resigned from this post in January 2009 in protest at his opposition the Labour government's proposal to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Sharma is a member of the parliamentary select committees on Health, Human Rights and International Development. He has made official overseas visits as an MP to Cyprus, Kenya, regions of India, Mauritius and South Korea. He is Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils.[8] He supported David Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election.

In September 2011, Sharma was investigated by the Electoral Commission, over a £5,000 donation allegedly made by the Indian Tourist Board and not declared in the Parliamentary register of members' interests. Sharma strenouously denied receiving the donation: "I have never received a donation from Indiatourism and have therefore never been liable to make a declaration in the Parliamentary register of members' interests".[9] Virendra Sharma was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing in December 2011.[10]

In 2017 Sharma voted against the bill on triggering Article 50 in the House of Commons, justifying his position with concern over Brexit's potential effects on the economy.[11]

Private life[edit]

Sharma is married with a grown-up son and daughter and three grandchildren. He is currently a school governor at the Three Bridges and Wolf Fields schools.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Piara Khabra
Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall