Thangam Debbonaire was first elected as the Labour MP for Bristol West in 2015, being reelected in 2019 with a majority of 28,219.
The Bristol West constituency contains the Lawrence Hill, Redland, St Pauls, Stapleton and Clifton areas of the city of Bristol. The University of Bristol and the town’s suspension bridge are both found in this constituency. Overall this is the most affluent of the Bristol seats. Some 79.3% of the electorate here backed Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, the second highest of any seat in the UK.
Once a Conservative area represented by the Conservative cabinet minister, William Waldegrave during the Thatcher and Major governments, the politics of this part of Bristol have changed dramatically in recent years. Indeed in 2019, the Conservatives polled less than 12% here. The seat was held by Labour between 1997 and 2005, by the Liberal Democrats between 2005 and 2015, and by Labour ever since. This is also an area of the country in which the Green Party has concentrated its efforts, and the Greens entered into an electoral pact with the Liberal Democrats in 2019 to give them a clear run at the seat. However the voters thought differently and Labour won with 62% of the votes cast.
Debbonaire sits in the Shadow Cabinet, and has been Shadow Leader of the House of Commons since May 2021. She was Shadow Secretary of State for Housing between 2020 and 2021.
Born in 1966, Debbonaire was privately educated. She then studied contemporarily cello at the Royal College of Music, and Mathematics at the University of Oxford. She later gained an MSc in Management, Development and Social Responsibility at the University of Bristol.
Debbonaire has worked as a professional cellist in the past. She is part of the parliamentary string quartet, the Statutory Instruments.
Before being elected to Parliament, she worked as a National Children’s Officer for the Women’s Aid Federation of England, and as National Research Manager for Respect, an anti-domestic violence organisation.
Thangam Debbonaire recovered from Breast Cancer in 2016. She is one of Parliament’s few vegan MPs.
She backed Keir Starmer in the 2020 Labour leadership election.
Debbonaire is the Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Vegetarianism and Veganism; Eritrea; and the Friends of Syria. She is an Officer of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Autism; and Parkrun.
Personal Website: http://www.debbonaire.co.uk/