Vernon Coakeris the Labour MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire. He won the seat in 1997, taking it from the Conservative Junior Minister, Andrew Mitchell, with a majority of 3,802. The seat was retained in 2001 with a majority of 5,598, in 2005 with a majority of 3,811 and again in 2010 with a majority of 1,859. In the most recent election (May 2015) Vernon retained the Gedling seat and increased his majority to 2,986.
Vernon served in the Labour Shadow Cabinet, as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, from September 2015 until July 2016. Vernon previously held this role between 2011 and 2013, before becoming the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. In September 2010 he was elected by the Parliamentary Labour Party to be Shadow Minister of State for Policing. Earlier that year he had served as the Shadow Minister of State for Schools, continuing the role he had occupied in government since 2009. Vernon has also worked as the Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office.
Earlier in his parliamentary career Vernon held the positions of Government Whip, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tessa Jowell (then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Estelle Morris (then Secretary of State for Education). Vernon’s main policy interests are international development, foreign policy, education, animal welfare and the environment.
Before becoming a Minister, Vernon was one of the UNICEF’s “Special Friends” in Parliament. In December 1998 he was part of a delegation that visited Kosovo to see UNICEF’s efforts in developing education. In April 1999 he visited refugee camps in Macedonia, travelling out on a UNICEF cargo plane carrying emergency aid. His most recent visit to Kosovo was in June 2000. In September 2001 he visited Angola to see the work of UNICEF projects providing housing, education and health programmes for children.
Vernon has a constituency office in Arnold and is committed to serving the people of Gedling. He holds at least four surgeries each month and is happy to take up issues on behalf of local people. Before becoming an MP, Vernon was Deputy Head Teacher at Bigwood School in Nottingham. He also taught at the Manvers Pierrepont, Arnold Hill and Bramcote Park schools. During this time, Vernon pursued an active role in local politics as a Borough Councillor.
Vernon is married to Jackie and they have a daughter and a son. In his spare time his interests include sport – he is a keen Spurs fan – walking in the countryside and current affairs.