|Emma Dent Coad
Dent Coad in 2016
|Member of Parliament
9 June 2017
|Preceded by||Victoria Borwick|
|Born|| 15 November 1954
Chelsea, London, England
|Alma mater||Royal College of Art|
Dent Coad was born in Chelsea, the youngest of six children. Her father, Professor Charles Enrique Dent CBE, was a professor of Medicine with Spanish origins, and her mother, Margaret Ruth Coad, was a vicar's daughter who converted to Catholicism to marry him. She went to Sacred Heart High School, a convent school in Hammersmith, London. She graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in History of Design in 1992.
Dent Coad has written or contributed to a number of books on architecture and design, including on Javier Mariscal. She is studying at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture for a PhD on "Constructing Modern Spain: Architecture, Politics and Ideology under Franco, 1939–1975", which she put on hold on being elected.
Dent Coad was elected to the Conservative-controlled Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council in 2006, representing the Golborne ward. She served as leader of the opposition Labour Group on the council from 2014-15. She served as a council-appointed board member of Kensington and Chelsea TMO, the tenant management organisation which manages the council's housing stock, from 27 June 2008 to 31 October 2012. In 2013/4, she was a member of the council's Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee. She has been a member of the council's Planning Applications Committee since May 2013, and a member of the main Planning Committee since June 2014. She was a member of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
Dent Coad was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kensington at the 2017 snap election when she defeated the sitting Conservative MP Victoria Borwick, with a majority of just 20 votes, overturning a 7,361 majority from the previous election two years earlier. The announcement was made at around 21:00 on Friday 9 June 2017, after three recounts, and was the final result declared of the 2017 UK general election. Dent Coad has attributed her electoral victory to dissatisfaction over the gentrification of the borough. Dent Coad maintains that the borough's poorer residents are sidelined or forced out to facilitate luxury developments. She has drawn attention to the scale of inequality, claiming that life expectancy is falling and malnutrition is present in the UK's wealthiest borough.
She is a housing campaigner and writes regularly about housing association standards, planning and development, conditions in social and rented homes, and related policy areas.
On 29 June 2017, Dent Coad was one of only two members of the new intake of Labour MPs to vote against the party whip and for an amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for the UK's continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union following Brexit.
Dent Coad is a republican; she joined the pressure group Republic in 2005 and is a former board member. At the 2017 Labour Party conference, Dent Coad received critical press coverage following a speech critical of the Royal Family. She claimed that Prince Harry, a qualified Apache helicopter pilot, could not fly a helicopter, but said that she did not have any evidence for her assertion. This statement was later found to be demonstrably false. She said that her remarks had been "a joke" which had been "taken the wrong way".
In June 2017, Dent Coad blamed the Kensington and Chelsea council for failings which led to the Grenfell Tower fire. Dent Coad considers the fire an "entirely preventable" tragedy. Dent Coad said, “I can’t help thinking that poor quality materials and construction standards may have played a part in this hideous and unforgivable event.” Dent Coad links the council's intention to redevelop the area to the tragedy, she said, “The council want to develop this area full of social housing, and in order to enable that they have prettified a building that they felt was ugly ... The idea that that has led to this horrendous tragedy is just unthinkable.”
She is campaigning for permanent new homes in the area for victims of the tragedy rather than, "some mucky bedsit". She has added “People are very afraid of what is going to happen next. They need to be kept within Kensington. The fear I was hearing yesterday was "they’re going to send us to Peterborough or to Hastings", all the other places that the council has tried to send them before. People want to stay near their networks where their children go to school, where their families are.” Poverty in Kensington and the fire were the subjects of her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 22 June 2017.
On 4 July 2017, Dent Coad said that residents had no confidence in Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry, describing him as "a technocrat" who lacked "credibility". She supports calls for "reparations" to the community in the form of restoring local assets and services such as a college and a library which are under threat, and claims that many on the council see those in social housing as "lesser beings."
Dent Coad supports a call for the leaders of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council to resign so that there can be fresh elections. Her predecessor, Victoria Borwick, has claimed she shares "collective responsibility" for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, since Dent Coad had (until October 2012) sat on the board of the Kensington and Chelsea TMO which managed the tower. In a council meeting on 8 November 2012, Dent Coad praised the refurbishment announcement of the Grenfell Tower which she said showed that the council had listened to residents. However, Dent Coad has asked Borwick to retract this claim, arguing that she supported refurbishment in principle to respond to complaints about conditions, but left the TMO around the time that the broad principles of the refurbishment were agreed. She was not present when Rydon was provided with the contract, or when the decision was reportedly taken to save money on external cladding.
In a 2014/15 report, in which Dent Coad's name appears, it is reported that the housing scrutiny committee looked at the refurbishment. "I didn’t make any of the decisions. I didn’t sign the document," Dent Coad has responded.
In November 2017, it emerged that Dent Coad had, in 2010, described Shaun Bailey, then a Conservative parliamentary candidate, now a London Assembly member, as a “token ghetto boy”. In the same blog post she quoted an anonymous former neighbour of Bailey who had described him as a “free-loading scumbag”. She wrote that Bailey was being “used” by the Conservative Party and asked "Who can say where this man will ever fit in, however hard he tries?” She proceeded to state that if Bailey were to win his seat “he will no longer be welcome in North Ken[sington]”. Bailey subsequently called the comments "racist" and "hate-filled". Dent Coad later apologised for "any offence caused" and persisted with her claim that she was just repeating what others had said.
Dent Coad once published, on her blog, a drawing of a person being hanged from the tree on the Conservative Party logo. Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, Kemi Badenoch commented: "Words fail me..It actually looks like a black conservative hanging from a tree."
Coad was criticised for retweeting a post on Twitter referring to the Prime Minister Theresa May as 'ugly'. Conservative MP George Freeman said: "The re-appearance of misogyny & racial prejudice in Corbyn's Labour Party isn't a surprise".
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament