It was a profound pleasure to interview the elected MP for Slough, MP Tanmanjeet Dhesi at his office in Chavley, Slough, It was the first time to meet this amazing man and community ambassador who had so much passion and zeal to make a positive difference to the lives of people living in Slough.
His grace, simplicity and clear vision for the future was profound and overwhelming
In the past, I had conducted previous interviews with the former MP for Slough -MP Fiona Mactaggart and it was great to meet another Slough MP who was ready to lead by example.
Enjoy the interview i conducted with him, by clicking on the link below
Tanmanjeet was born on 17th August 1978 in Berkshire; when his parents lived in Chalvey in Slough where his father’s extended family had settled. After working for a local heating components manufacturer in Britwell and at the Langley Ford plant, his father moved into the Construction Industry in which he eventually went on to set up his own company with his wife, who had previously worked at a local garage on Farnham Road. Tanmanjeet received most of his primary education in the Punjab, India. He appreciates this move till now as it helped inculcate within his nature, the discipline, character and some of the values he stands for today. It also influenced his linguistic capabilities and cultural understanding, allowing him to easily communicate and associate with South Asians all over the world. He returned to the UK to finish his primary schooling in Gravesend – the town where his mother had spent most of her childhood and where his parents had married. He then attended the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical (Grammar) School in Rochester; and later the Gravesend Grammar School, where he completed his GCSEs and ‘A’ Levels and had the honour of being elected by his peers as the school’s Deputy Head Boy.
Tanmanjeet has had the rare privilege of having studied in three of the most prestigious universities in the country. He studied Mathematics with Management Studies at University College London, before studying Applied Statistics at Keble College, Oxford University. Then he went on to explore the history and politics of South Asia and its connections with Great Britain while studying for his MPhil at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University. Tanmanjeet freely admits that his time at university and his discussions with friends and others there had a significant impact on his thinking and general outlook on life.
Upon completing his studies, he joined the family business with a vision to take it to another level as well as to help shoulder the burden of his family. To get a complete understanding of the business, Tanmanjeet worked at every level within the organisation. He had also gained experience earlier during vacations from school/university when he used to work on the construction site as a handyman, scabbler, core driller and even a general labourer. He then worked his way up from site foreman to site manager, then project manager and eventually project director on site. He spent 3 years in Edinburgh, Scotland, working on several projects there. After his Scottish experience, he moved back to Kent, working now in the South.
In 2005, Tanmanjeet married Manveen. The couple has two young boys: 8 years and 4 years old.
Given Tanmanjeet’s vision and deep family roots in public life (with his grandparents, parents and other family members actively volunteering for charitable/political/religious/educational initiatives) it was inevitable that he would be inspired to choose a similar path and enter the public life arena, with the intention of making a positive difference for the betterment of society.
Emanating from a strong Labour supporting family, Tanmanjeet was also a member of the Labour Party. After he returned from Scotland, he was encouraged to contest the local council elections, at the age of 28. (He had previously respectfully declined a similar suggestion in 2003 since he would be working mostly in Scotland and would therefore not be able to fulfil his duties to the residents and his party.) He was elected as a councillor in 2007. Given the anti-Labour sentiment at the time (owing primarily to various national factors), the local Labour party lost control of the council, which it had controlled for 14 years. Despite a backdrop of decreasing Labour vote in all the wards, the percentage of Labour vote in his ward actually increased substantially. The rigorous doorstep micro-campaigning by a large number of family and friends played a crucial role in ensuring that this outstanding result transpired.
Tanmanjeet’s passion for studying languages, cultures and the desire to be able to communicate with others has led him to be a well versed polyglot being fluent in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and French as well as having a working knowledge of German, Italian and Latin. He has travelled widely in most of Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia.
Having this ability to communicate so well with all spheres of the community, whether they are the English/European language speakers, or the Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu speaking South Asian diaspora, or even the multilingual section like himself, has added to his popularity not only in the UK, but also whenever he visits India. It is for this reason that he has been invited by many TV channels and print media in both countries for interviews, to be a panellist or even host shows.
Tanmanjeet went on to volunteer for several charities and as a School Governor in two local schools. Within the Council, he was elected as the Shadow Cabinet Member (responsible for the Communities Portfolio). Following his re-election as a councillor in May 2011, he was unanimously elected as the Mayor. Subsequently, he became a Cabinet Member in 2012, with responsibility for Business & the Community portfolio. He also became the President of Gatka Federation UK – to enable further growth of Gatka (Sikh martial art) and has successfully organised tournaments up and down the country.
In July 2013, he was elected as the Labour Party’s MP candidate for the 2015 UK General Election. The national election did not prove successful, amidst an anti-Labour tide in South England. However, despite the Tory vote increasing in almost all South England constituencies, with his hard-fought campaign in Gravesham, there was actually a 1.5% swing from Tory to Labour, thereby reducing the previous Tory majority.
Throughout his life, he has remained deeply connected to Slough with regular visits to his father’s extended family who still live throughout the town, and he is humbled to have been given the opportunity to serve the town where he was born and brought up.
He believes – “Everyone can work/live for themselves, but it is the potential to help others (especially those who are vulnerable/less able than yourself) that stands you apart from the crowd. Each person can spend time helping him/herself, but to take the time out to help others is a much more valuable asset to have in one’s personality.
Promoted by Christine Hulme on behalf of Tan Dhesi, both at 52 Chalvey High Street, Slough, SL1 2SQ.