Birmingham MP Preet Kaur Gill has spoken about her immigrant father who inspired her to become involved in politics.
Ms Gill, MP for Edgbaston, is a member of Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet, in the role of Shadow International Development Secretary. It means she is set to be a Cabinet Minister if Labour forms a government. She is also the first Sikh woman to become an MP.
Speaking to Labour’s annual conference, she told delegates about her father, who came to Birmingham from Punjab, India, and worked as a bus driver before becoming president of a Black Country Gurdwara, a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs.
Ms Gill said: “Growing up, my inspiration to get into politics was my father, the late Daljit Singh Shergill. My dad came to Birmingham in the 1950s, where he worked in the Foundry and as a bus driver before becoming the President of the first Gurdwara in Smethwick.
“Growing up in recession-hit Birmingham in the 1980s, I realised the power of community.
“I saw how my father unionised the ethnic minority workers at his factory, to stop them having their pay packets stolen by other workers.
“I watched him set up the first domestic abuse service of its kind, and establish the first food bank in Smethwick. Our home became a one-stop shop for anyone who needed support.
“I remember being 14 years old, and helping people with social security forms and interpreting for them.
“Today our task is the same as then. Building resilience and power in our communities is what my father did and is what we, as co-operators, do, day in day out.
“It is why I am proud to be a Labour and Co-operative MP and the UK’s first female Sikh MP.”
Ms Gill was speaking to the conference in Brighton in her role as chair of the Co-operative Party Parliamentary Group. The Co-operative Party is Labour’s sister party.
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