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Barry Sheerman MP

Member of Parliament
for Huddersfield
Huddersfield East (1979–1983)
Assumed office 
3 May 1979
Preceded by Joseph Mallalieu
Majority 16,341 (46.8%)

Born 17 August 1940 (1940-08-17) (age 69)
Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Alma mater London School of Economics, University of London
Profession Academic

Barry John Sheerman (born 17 August 1940) is a British Labour Co-operative politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Huddersfield since 1979.


Early life

He went to Hampton Grammar School (became the independent Hampton School in 1975) on Hanworth Road in Hampton then Kingston Technical College. He was educated at the London School of Economics (BSc Economics 1965) and at the University of London (MSc 1967). He became a lecturer at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1966 and remained there until his election to parliament in 1979.

Parliamentary career

Sheerman unsuccessfully contested Taunton in the October 1974 election, and became the MP for Huddersfield East from 1979-83 and for Huddersfield since the 1983 general election. At the 2005 election, despite a swing of 7.1% from Sheerman to his Liberal Democrat challenger, his majority was still 8,351.

From 1983-8 he was the Labour spokesperson on education and employment; for Home Affairs (as Shadow Deputy Home Secretary) from 1988-92; and for Disabled People's Rights from 1992-4. He has been Chair of the House of Commons Education and Skills select committee since 2001, since renamed the Children, Schools and Families Committee in 2007. The Committee is often critical of government policy.

He is Chair of the Labour Forum for Criminal Justice and of the Cross-Party Advisory Group on Preparation for European Monetary Union. Outside parliament, he is Chair of the National Educational Research and Development Trust, and a trustee of the National Children's Centre. His political interests are listed as trade, industry, finance, further education, education, economy, the European Union, South America and the United States. His recreations include walking, biography and films.

In June 2009, Sheerman called for a secret ballot of the Parliamentary Labour Party on whether Gordon Brown should continue in office as prime minister. This followed widespread criticism of Brown's performance and the resignation of Cabinet member James Purnell. Sheerman later reassured his local party chairman that he had not directly called for Brown's resignation.[1]

Personal life

Barry Sheerman married Pamela Elizabeth Brenchley in 1965 in north Surrey, with whom he has one son (born in 1978) and three daughters (born in 1970, 1972 and 1981). He lives in a nearby village called Norwood Green, which is outside the constituency town of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and in Calderdale.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joseph Mallalieu
Member of Parliament for Huddersfield East
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Huddersfield
Political offices
Preceded by
Malcolm Wicks
Chairman, Education & Skills Select Committee
Committee abolished
New title Chairman, Children, Schools and Families Select Committee

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