Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Tanmanjeet (Tan) Dhesi


EUROPE’S first-turbaned Sikh parliamentary representative Tan Dhesi, the Labour MP for Slough in Berkshire, has become something of a national figure – even international as the farmers’ protests in India came into the global spotlight.

In a Zoom interview with the GG2 Power List late last year, it is clear he is something of a conviction politician – he says what he believes and his politics are rooted in rights and justice and a fair deal for everyone – where Dhesi perceives discrimination and unfair practice, he certainly won’t be quiet about it – even if it isn’t ideal for parliamentary advancement.

For a short time, Dhesi served as former leader Jeremy Corbyn’s private parliamentary secretary at the tail end of the Islington MP’s stewardship of the party after the crushing defeat at the polls in December and the subsequent leadership contest.

Between January and April 2020, Dhesi got to know more about the inner workings of the party and helped to prepare the leader as the curtain drew in on Corbyn’s time at the helm.

Dhesi supported present Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy in her subsequent leadership bid, but it did him no harm as new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appointed Dhesi to his first ministerial position, heading the Rail portfolio for Labour in April 2020.

Dhesi came into national politics after being a local councillor and Mayor of Gravesham in Kent, where there is a sizeable Sikh community and the town there possesses one of the largest Gurudwaras in Europe. “There are lots of goals that are important to me,” he tells the GG2 Power List. “But I know that the only way that they that can be achieved is through hard work.

“My aim in life wasn’t to get into parliament – I don’t have a

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