Tommy Sheppard

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Tommy Sheppard
Tommy Sheppard - MP - 2017.jpg
Sheppard in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh East
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Sheila Gilmore
Personal details
Born (1959-03-06) 6 March 1959 (age 58)
Coleraine, Northern Ireland,
Political party Labour (1979–2003)
Scottish National Party (2014–
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
Website Official website

Tommy Sheppard (born 6 March 1959) is a Scottish National Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East since May 2015.[1] He is the SNP spokesperson on the Cabinet Office in the House of Commons. He is also known for founding The Stand Comedy Clubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Early life and education

Sheppard was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, in 1959 and moved to nearby Portstewart at the age of seven. He was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution before attending the University of Aberdeen to study medicine.[2] He graduated with a degree in politics and sociology in 1982. That same year he was elected Vice-President of the NUS and moved to London.[3]

Political career

He left the NUS in 1984 to work in the East End of London and in 1986 was elected as a Labour member, on Hackney London Borough Council. In 1990 he became Deputy Leader of the Council.[3] Sheppard unsuccessfully contested Bury St Edmunds at the United Kingdom general election, 1992 for the Labour Party, polling 14,767 votes and 23.6% of the vote. He moved back to Scotland and settled in Edinburgh, taking up a position with the District Council. In 1994 he was appointed Assistant General Secretary of Scottish Labour under John Smith. In 1997 he was made redundant from this role due to internal policy disagreements.[3] He ceased to renew his Labour Party membership in 2003, stating: "I joined the Labour Party in 1979, just before my 21st birthday. Now 25 years later I've finally got around to cancelling the direct debit. I can no longer bring myself to vote Labour. My outlook has barely changed, but clearly the Labour Party has. I can no longer believe the Labour Party is likely to change the world very much, or at least not in a direction I would like".[4]

In 2012 he became the Edinburgh South organiser of the Yes Scotland campaign, but joined the SNP only in 2014 after the Scottish independence referendum, 2014. He was selected as candidate for the Edinburgh East constituency[5] and polled 23,188 and 49.2% of the vote, securing election with a majority of 9,106 and defeating incumbent Labour MP Sheila Gilmore. In October 2015 Tommy was elected to the SNP's National Executive Committee. In March 2016 the Parliamentary Standards Committee announced that Mr Sheppard was under investigation for non-declaratory incomes. Last year his own company Salt n' Sauce Promotions Limited shareholder Funds had proven greater than Sheppard had claimed. He was reprimanded in the press by chairman Lord Bew, who called on reforms to be made to the scrutiny process of MPs earnings. At present such reported errors could be dismissed as merely "administrative" omissions. The details included thresholds governing how much ownership and share of control over companies must be over 15%.[6]

Sheppard is a staunch republican, and during the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, he remarked "off with their heads", prompting some criticism.[7] Sheppard is an atheist and a humanist, and was elected Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group in 2017.[8]


Sheppard is a co-founder and former manager and promoter of The Stand Comedy Clubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.[9]


  1. ^ Tufft, Ben (8 May 2015). "Scottish MPs in Westminster: The full list of the SNP parliamentarians". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Leask, David (1 June 2015). "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Tommy Sheppard SNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Edinburgh East". 
  4. ^ "Crisis inside Labour Party". Socialist Worker. 15 March 2003. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Swanson, Ian (27 January 2015). "Tommy Sheppard named SNP Edinburgh East candidate". Evening News. Edinburgh. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  6. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 9 March 2016
  7. ^ "The maverick SNP MPs heading to Westminster". 
  8. ^ "Crispin Blunt and Joan Bakewell elected as Chair and Co-Chair of humanists in Parliament". Humanists UK. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  9. ^ Johnston, Alex. "Tommy Sheppard, local councillor turned comedy impresario, is elected MP". The List. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 

External links

  • Profile on SNP website
  • Profile on personal website
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sheila Gilmore
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh East

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