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Nirj Deva

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Title: Nirj Deva  
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Subject: Ann Keen, Constanze Krehl, Elmar Brok, Jean-Marie Le Pen, List of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom, 2009–14
Collection: 1948 Births, Alumni of Loughborough University, British Politicians of South Asian Descent, Conservative Party (Uk) Meps, Conservative Party (Uk) Mps, Deputy Lieutenants of Greater London, English People of Sri Lankan Descent, Living People, Members of the Bow Group, Members of the European Parliament for English Constituencies, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Meps for the United Kingdom 1999–2004, Meps for the United Kingdom 2004–09, Meps for the United Kingdom 2009–14, Meps for the United Kingdom 2014–19, People from Colombo, Sri Lankan Emigrants to the United Kingdom, Sri Lankan People of Indian Descent, Sri Lankan Roman Catholics, Uk Mps 1992–97
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Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva MEP
Deva in 2010
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
Assumed office
10 June 1999
Preceded by Position established
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Brentford and Isleworth
In office
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Barney Hayhoe
Succeeded by Ann Keen
Majority 2,086
Personal details
Born Niranjan Joseph De Silva Deva Aditya
(1948-05-11) 11 May 1948
Colombo, Dominion of Ceylon
Citizenship Sri Lankan & UK
Political party Conservative
Other political
European Conservatives and Reformists
Spouse(s) Indra
Children 1
Residence London
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website .comnirjdeva

Niranjan Joseph De Silva Deva Aditya FRSA DL (born 11 May 1948), commonly known as Nirj Deva, is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been a Member of the European Parliament representing South East England since 1999. He was previously a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons from 1992 to 1997, representing the constituency of Brentford and Isleworth.

Deva was born in Sri Lanka into a politically active family, and was raised in Britain. He was only the fourth Asian-born person to be elected a Member of the House of Commons, and was the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament.


  • Family background and education 1
  • British Parliament 2
  • European Parliament 3
  • Lobbying 4
  • Business interests 5
    • Sri Lanka 5.1
    • United Kingdom 5.2
  • Other roles and activities 6
  • Family life 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Family background and education

Deva was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to a leading family of Rajasthani (Indian) descent, and is a Roman Catholic. He spent his Primary and secondary education at St. Joseph's College, which is a leading Catholic school in Colombo. He holds Sri Lankan and British citizenship, and speaks Sinhalese and English.

Deva was educated at Loughborough University, where he completed a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and was subsequently a Postgraduate Research Fellow in Economics.

British Parliament

Deva stood as the Conservative Party candidate in Hammersmith at the 1987 general election but lost by 2,415 votes to sitting Labour MP Clive Soley.[1][2]

At the 1992 general election, Deva was elected to the House of Commons as MP for the London constituency of Brentford and Isleworth with a majority of 2,086.[3] During his time in Parliament, Deva served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Scottish Office. Deva was only the second Asian-born person to be elected a Member of the House of Commons and serve in the British Government.

He was defeated in the 1997 general election, losing to the Labour candidate Ann Keen by 14,424 votes.[4]

European Parliament

Deva was chosen by the Conservatives to be one of their candidates for the South East England at the 1999 European Parliament election. This was to be the first European election in the UK to use the closed party-list proportional representation electoral system and Deva was placed fifth amongst the eleven Conservatives candidates in South East England.[5] After the election the Conservatives were entitled to five MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was elected to the European Parliament.[6] Deva became the first Asian-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament. At the 2004 European Parliament election Deva was moved up to second place on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England.[7] After the election the Conservatives were entitled to four MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to the European Parliament.[8]

In April 2005 he was chairman of the European Parliament's delegation to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, and delivered a paper on the future of the United Nations at the US Council on Foreign Relations. A few months later, he headed the European Parliament's delegation to the UN High-Level Conference on global financing of aid. Also in 2005 he was Co-Chairman (with former Prime Minister of France Michel Rocard) of the European Parliaments' Delegation to the World Summit at the United Nations 60th General Assembly.

At the 2009 European Parliament election Deva was placed third on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England.[9] After the election the Conservatives were entitled to four MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to the European Parliament.[10]

In November 2011 it was announced that Deva would be the European Conservatives and Reformists Group's candidate for President of the European Parliament.[11][12] However, when the election took place in January 2012 he only received the support of 142 MEPs, trailing behind S&D candidate Martin Schulz who received 387 votes.[13][14]

At the 2014 European Parliament election Deva was placed second on the Conservatives' list of candidates for South East England.[15] After the election the Conservatives were entitled to three MEPs from South East England and therefore Deva was re-elected to the European Parliament.[16] After the election the Sri Lankan media falsely reported that Deva had increased his share of the vote – electors vote for the party, not the candidate, and the Conservatives votes and share of the vote had actually decreased.[17][18]

Deva serves as co-ordinator on the Committee on Overseas Development and Cooperation, and is a bureau member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. He is also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament. He has established an online campaign calling for a referendum on the European Constitution (, and launched an online survey asking the views of his constituents on the future of the EU (


Whilst an MP Deva served as a consultant for tobacco manufacturer Rothmans, builders Laing and power station equipment manufacturer KHD.[19] Following the cash-for-questions affair Deva was amongst a number of MPs who were investigated by an official inquiry led by Gordon Downey.[20] The inquiry found that Deva had no case to answer.[21][22]

Deva used an official European Parliament trip to Barbados in 2009 to promote Symphony Environmental Technologies, a company from which he received £33,000 a year for being its chairman.[23]

Deva lobbies extensively for the Sri Lankan government and founded the Friends of Sri Lanka group in the European Parliament.[24] He is regarded as an unofficial "Ambassador-at-Large for Sri Lanka".[25][26]

Business interests

Sri Lanka

Deva's family has extensive business interests in Sri Lanka including tea, rubber and coconut plantations as well a distillery and residential property.[27] Deva is a director of Waulugalle Distilleries Limited, Serene Residencies (Private) Limited and the family trust.[28]

Deva holds directorships of a number of Sri Lanka's largest companies. He is a director of conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC.[29][30] He was appointed a non-executive director of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC, with effect from 1 July 2010.[31][32] He was appointed to the board of directors of MTD Walkers PLC with effect from 29 February 2012.[33][34] He is a director of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC and its subsidiary Melstacorp Limited.[35][36] He is also a director of The Kingsbury PLC (formerly Hotel Services (Ceylon) PLC), a subsidiary of Hayleys PLC.[37][38]

United Kingdom

Deva is a shareholder, director and chairman of Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC, a company listed on the Alternative Investment Market.[39] He received a salary of £42,000 in 2013 for being chairman.[40] He is also a director of two of the company's subsidiaries, Symphony Recycling Technologies Limited and Symphony Plastics (2010) Limited.[41][42] He is also currently director of Deva Imperial Limited, Monte Zita Limited and Stassen Teas Limited.[43][44][45] He had previously been director of Airlines of the World Limited,[46] Budget Hotels Limited,[47] CMB Technologies Limited,[48] Corporate and Public Affairs Strategy Limited,[49] First European Communications Corporation Limited,[50] Global Business Link Limited,[51] International Management Consulting Group Limited,[52] P.P.A.I. Limited,[53] Policy Research Centre for Business Limited,[54] Project Management (Balaton) Limited,[55] Serendib Business Investments Limited,[56] Speed Promotions Limited,[57] Winfotech Europe Limited[58] and World Corporate Travel Buyers Club Limited.[59]

Other roles and activities

In 1981, Deva became Chairman of the Bow Group (a leading conservative think tank in Britain), and initiated the Transatlantic Conferences between the Bow Group and the Republican Party/Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C..

Deva was appointed Chairman of the Department of Transport/National Consumer Council Committee on De-regulation of Air-Transport, whose Report was published by the UK Government in March 1986. This resulted in the low-fare airlines in Europe.

Deva was a Member of the Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society from 1976 to 1980. In 1985, he became the first Asian-born person to be appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to the office of Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London – a position which he holds for life. He is a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Arts, President of the EU-India Chamber of Commerce, and a Patron of the International Monarchist League. Deva has backed many important education and health issues – he is a staunch supporter of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK and in Sri Lanka.

In 2006 Deva tried to become a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations.[60][61] Deva claimed to have received the recommendation of Fijian Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola, a claim refuted by Fiji.[62][63] He tried unsuccessfully to receive the endorsement of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.[63] The British government also refused to support Deva.[64] With so little support Deva didn't go forward as an official candidate.[65]

Since 2008 Deva has served as the President of the International Committee on Human Dignity for the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute,[66] and is also the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Working Group on Human Dignity since its launch in 2009.

Family life

Deva is married to Indra – a French-speaking Mauritian. Indra has worked as Deva's personal assistant since he was elected an MP in 1992.[67] As of 2009 Indra was earning a salary of £30,000-£39,999 for working as one of Deva's assistants in the European Parliament.[68]

The couple have one son.


  1. ^ "UK General Election results June 1987". 
  2. ^ Geddes, Andrew (1998). "7 Inequality, political opportunity and ethnic minority parliamentary candidacy". In Saggar, Shamit. Race And British Electoral Politics. London:  
  3. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". 
  4. ^ "Brentford & Isleworth". 
  5. ^ "1999 Election Candidates: Candidates" (PDF). European Parliament / Information Office in the United Kingdom. 
  6. ^ "Vote 99: UK Regions – South East".  
  7. ^ "2004 Election Candidates". European Parliament / Information Office in the United Kingdom. 
  8. ^ "European Election: South East Result".  
  9. ^ "Candidates 2009". European Parliament / Information Office in the United Kingdom. 
  10. ^ "European Election 2009: South East".  
  11. ^ "The man to stop Schulz?". Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  12. ^ "European parliament presidential hustings".  
  13. ^ "Martin Schulz elected President of the European Parliament".  
  14. ^ "Election of president".  
  15. ^ "Statement of Parties and Individual Candidates Nominated and Notice of Poll" (PDF).  
  16. ^ "South East".  
  17. ^ "Niranjan wins again bucking the trend and increasing his vote while Conservative Party collapses in European election".  
  18. ^ "Niranjan Deva Aditya creates history at European Parliament".  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Best, Shaun (2001). Introduction to Politics and Society.  
  21. ^  
  22. ^ "The sleaze report: 20 are cleared by the findings".  
  23. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (29 May 2009). "Nirj Deva MEP promoted business interests on expenses-paid EU visit".  
  24. ^ "Declaration of Members' Financial Interests" (PDF).  
  25. ^ "Member of European Parliament envisages converting Tamils to Buddhism".  
  26. ^ "This is Paradise: So much of right royal baloney".  
  27. ^  
  28. ^ "Declaration of Members' Financial Interests" (PDF).  
  29. ^ "Aitken Spence PLC: Annual Report 2012/13" (PDF).  
  30. ^ "Aitken Spence PLC: Company Profile".  
  31. ^ "Appointment of Independent Non Executive Directors to the Board of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC" (PDF).  
  32. ^ "Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC: Company Profile".  
  33. ^ "MTD Walkers PLC Corporate Disclosure" (PDF).  
  34. ^ "MTD Walkers PLC: Company Profile".  
  35. ^ "Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC: Annual Report 2012/13" (PDF).  
  36. ^ "Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC: Company Profile".  
  37. ^ "The Kingsbury PLC: Annual Report 2013/14" (PDF).  
  38. ^ "The Kingsbury PLC: Company Profile".  
  39. ^ "Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC". Company Check. 
  40. ^ Annual Reports and Accounts 2013. Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC. p. 10. 
  41. ^ "Symphony Recycling Technologies Limited". Company Check. 
  42. ^ "Symphony Plastics (2010) Limited". Company Check. 
  43. ^ "Deva Imperial Limited". Company Check. 
  44. ^ "Monte Zita Limited". Company Check. 
  45. ^ "Stassen Teas Limited". Company Check. 
  46. ^ "Airlines of the World Limited". Company Check. 
  47. ^ "Budget Hotels Limited". Company Check. 
  48. ^ "CMB Technologies Limited". Company Check. 
  49. ^ "Corporate and Public Affairs Strategy Limited". Company Check. 
  50. ^ "First European Communications Corporation Limited". Company Check. 
  51. ^ "Global Business Link Limited". Company Check. 
  52. ^ "International Management Consulting Group Limited". Company Check. 
  53. ^ "P.P.A.I. Limited". Company Check. 
  54. ^ "Policy Research Centre for Business Limited". Company Check. 
  55. ^ "Project Management (Balaton) Limited". Company Check. 
  56. ^ "Serendib Business Investments Limited". Company Check. 
  57. ^ "Speed Promotions Limited". Company Check. 
  58. ^ "Winfotech Europe Limited". Company Check. 
  59. ^ "World Corporate Travel Buyers Club Limited". Company Check. 
  60. ^ "Candidates for UN Secretary General". 
  61. ^ "Another Lankan in UN S-G race?".  
  62. ^ "Fiji's Foreign Minister rejects UN job claim".  
  63. ^ a b "For Dhanapala, this may be the last straw".  
  64. ^ "UNSC to hold more straw polls".  
  65. ^ MacAskill, Ewen; Tisdall, Simon; Pilkington, Ed (12 September 2006). "Security council divided on successor to Kofi Annan".  
  66. ^
  67. ^ "Declaration of Members' Financial Interests" (PDF).  
  68. ^ Swaine, Jon; Waterfield, Bruno (16 October 2009). "British MEPs exploit loophole to pay relatives to work for them".  

External links

  • .comnirjdeva
  • European Parliament
  • BBC Democracy Live
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nirj Deva
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Barney Hayhoe
Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth
Succeeded by
Ann Keen
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