Barry John Sheerman (born 17 August 1940) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Huddersfield since the 1979 general election.
Sheerman unsuccessfully contested Taunton in the October 1974 election, and became the MP for Huddersfield East from 1979 to 1983 and for Huddersfield since the 1983 general election. Sheerman has held the Huddersfield seats since, with his majority as low as 3,955 in 1983 and as high as 15,848 in the 1997 general election. In the most recent general election in 2017, Sheerman's majority was increased to 12,005 with a swing of 15.5% to Labour.
From 1983 to 1988 he was the Labour spokesperson on education and employment; for Home Affairs (as Shadow Deputy Home Secretary) from 1988 to 1992; and for Disabled People's Rights from 1992 to 1994. He was Chair of the House of Commons Education and Skills select committee from 2001 to 2010, renamed the Children, Schools and Families Committee in 2007. Under his chairmanship, the Committee was often critical of government policy. Sheerman warned the government not to "lose their nerve" over reforming secondary education exam system back in 2005, and in 2006 said it was "naive" to allocate local school places through parental choice, with lottery selection being the best way to avoid "bloody awful" schools existing as a side effect of parents pushing for their children to study elsewhere. During Sheerman's chairmanship, the select committee produced reports on subjects such as home education, education outside the classroom, and young people not in education employment or training (NEETs).
He is Chair of the Labour Forum for Criminal Justice and of the Cross-Party Advisory Group on Preparation for European Monetary Union. Outside parliament, he is Chair of the National Educational Research and Development Trust, and a trustee of the National Children's Centre. His political interests are listed as trade, industry, finance, further education, education, economy, the European Union, South America and the United States.
He is founder and chairman of Policy Connect, a cross-party, not-for-profit based in London, where he regularly chairs seminar events and research inquiries. He is also chair and co-chair of a number of official All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, and the Bullying All-Party Group. Since 2012, Sheerman has led the Schools to Work Commission, the Labour Party's policy review on the transition from education to employment.