Gareth Thomas (English politician)
Gareth Richard Thomas (born 15 July 1967) is a British Labour Co-op 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. Gareth Thomas is currently Shadow Minister of International Trade, under the leadership of Keir Starmer.
Thomas served as Chair of the Co-operative Party from 2001 until 2019.
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 (now the University of Greenwich) in 1992. He gained an MA in Imperial and Commonwealth Studies from King's College London in 1996 and became a teacher.
Gareth Thomas was Chair of the Co-operative Party until he stood down from the position in 2019. Within the capacity of the role, he served as President of the 2003 Co-operative Congress. 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.
After a June 2007 reshuffle, Thomas 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.
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.
He supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election. 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 until June 2017.
Gareth Thomas organised Harrow's first University Fair at Whitmore High School in 2016, allowing students to engage with leading universities within the UK and abroad. The event has been held annually since and due to its success, an additional Careers Fair is being arranged for late 2020.
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