Parmjit Dhanda held three ministerial posts in his time as Member of Parliament for Gloucester before his defeat at the general election.
He was born in Hillingdon hospital, where his mother worked as a cleaner. His father was a machine tool setter and then a truck driver. After attending Mellow Lane Comprehensive School in west London, Parmjit attended Nottingham University, where he completed a degree in electronic engineering and a master’s in information technology. On leaving university, he went on to work for the Labour Party as a campaigns organiser in the 1997 general election, and then as assistant national organiser of the Connect trade union from 1998 to 2001.
On 7 June 2001, aged twenty-nine, Parmjit was elected MP for Gloucester with a majority of 3,880 – the first BME MP in the west of England. He built a strong reputation as a local MP, helping to gain a proud record of investment for his constituency (including the docks regeneration scheme), and was returned in 2005 with an increased majority of 4,240. He was subsequently asked to join the government.
Parmjit is married to Rupi and they have two sons. He was the first British-born minister of Asian parentage and is, to this day, the only Sikh to have served in government.