Gareth Thomas (English politician)

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Gareth Thomas

Official portrait of Gareth Thomas crop 2.jpg
Chair of the Co-operative Party
In office
10 July 2001 – 8 June 2019
General SecretaryPeter Hunt
Michael Stephenson
Karin Christiansen
Claire McCarthy
Preceded byJim Lee
Succeeded byAnna Turley
Shadow Minister for Local Government
In office
7 October 2016 – 15 June 2017
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJim McMahon
Shadow Minister for Europe
In office
8 October 2013 – 20 October 2014
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byEmma Reynolds
Succeeded byPat McFadden
Minister of State for International Development
In office
5 October 2008 – 13 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byHilary Benn
Succeeded byAlan Duncan
Member of Parliament
for Harrow West
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byRobert Gurth Hughes
Majority8,692 (18.1%)
Personal details
Born (1967-07-15) 15 July 1967 (age 52)
Harrow, London, England
Political partyLabour Co-operative
Alma materAberystwyth University,
University of Greenwich,
King's College London

Gareth Richard Thomas (born 15 July 1967) is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Harrow West since 1997. Thomas held the position of Minister of State at the Department for International Development and, following the 2010 election, joined the shadow frontbench team.[1]

Thomas served as Chair of the Co-operative Party from 2001 until 2019.

He sought to become the Labour Party's candidate in the 2016 election for Mayor of London, but came last of the six candidates in the ballot.[2]

Early life[edit]

Thomas attended Hatch End High School on Headstone Lane in Hatch End, then Lowlands College in Harrow. At the University College of Wales Aberystwyth he gained a BSc in Economics in 1988 and later a PGCE from the Thames Polytechnic in 1992. He gained an MA in Imperial and Commonwealth Studies from King's College London in 1996 and became a teacher.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Gareth Thomas is Chair of the Co-operative Party and served as President of the 2003 Co-operative Congress.[3] He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development in 2003 and sponsored the Industrial and Provident Societies Act through Parliament.

In 2003 Thomas made an early attempt to ban smoking in restaurants with a Private Members Bill.[4]

After 29 June 2007 reshuffle he remained at International Development whilst also being part of the new Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, being appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Consumer Affairs. He had the responsibility of co-ordinating trade policy between the two departments.[5]

Following Gordon Brown's reshuffle of 3 October 2008, Thomas was promoted to Minister of State in both departments, taking on the portfolio of Trade, Investment and Consumer Affairs. In the June 2009 reshuffle DBERR was abolished, leaving Thomas to continue his role solely at International Development, with responsibility for Consumer Affairs passing to Kevin Brennan.

In May 2010 he was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Harrow West with a reduced majority (based on a notional 2005 result). He was Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Science from October 2010 to October 2011, Shadow Minister for Civil Society from October 2011 to October 2013, Shadow Minister for Europe from March 2013 to October 2014, then Shadow Minister for Africa and the Middle East from October 2014 to March 2015.

At the 2015 general election Conservative candidate Hannah David produced a swing from Labour to the Conservatives, and Thomas saw his majority reduced to 2,208.[6]

He supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[7] After Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the leadership election, Thomas was one of the first Labour MPs to return to the frontbench, as Shadow Minister for Local Government.

In the 2017 general election he was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Harrow West with a substantially increased majority of 13,314.[8]


  1. ^ "Opposition Front Bench". The Labour Party. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010.
  2. ^ Stone, Jon (15 May 2015). "Labour MP Gareth Thomas joins the race to be his party's London Mayor candidate". Independent. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Congress Presidents 1869–2002" (PDF). February 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  4. ^ "Smoking ban passes first test". BBC. 14 April 2003. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Gareth R Thomas MP". Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  6. ^ "Harrow West parliamentary constituency – Election 2015 – BBC News". BBC Online. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  7. ^ Smith, Mikey; Bloom, Dan (20 July 2016). "Which MPs are nominating Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest?". Mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  8. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Hughes
Member of Parliament for Harrow West
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Jones
(Resigned from post)
Minister of State at the Department for International Development
Succeeded by
Alan Duncan
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Lee
Chair of the Co-operative Party
2001 – 2019
Succeeded by
Anna Turley