Seema Kennedy

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Seema Kennedy

Official portrait of Seema Kennedy crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care
Assumed office
4 April 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded bySteve Brine
Member of Parliament
for South Ribble
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded byLorraine Fullbrook
Majority7,421 (13.5%)
Personal details
Born (1974-10-06) 6 October 1974 (age 44)
Lancashire, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materPembroke College,
WebsiteOfficial website

Seema Louise Ghiassi Kennedy (born 6 October 1974)[1] is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health since April 2019. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Ribble in Lancashire since 2015, and previously served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister since 2017.

Early life[edit]

Seema Kennedy was born in Lancashire in 1974, daughter of an Iranian Muslim father and Irish Catholic mother. At six weeks old she and her family moved to Iran, but were forced to flee as a result of the Islamic revolution.[2] Khomeini, the new Supreme Leader of Iran, had seized her family home and business.[3]

Kennedy was educated at the independent Westholme School in Blackburn before studying Oriental Studies (French and Persian) at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where she graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 1997. After Cambridge, she took a Legal Practice Course.[4]


Early career[edit]

Kennedy began her legal career at city law firm Slaughter and May, where she trained and qualified as a solicitor, before moving to Bevan Brittan LLP. Soon after, she became a board director at her family business, Tustin Developments, which owns commercial properties across the North West.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Kennedy fought Ashton-under-Lyne at the 2010 general election, coming second to Labour's David Heyes.

Kennedy has been the Member of Parliament for South Ribble since May 2015. She is also the first Member of Parliament of Iranian descent, with an Iranian father.[5][6]

Kennedy was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum and supported Theresa May in the 2016 Conservative Party leadership election.[7] Following May's reshuffle upon becoming Prime Minister, Kennedy was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools.

In 2016, Kennedy and the late Jo Cox began work to set up a commission to tackle loneliness. After Cox's murder, Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and close friend of Cox's carried on her work. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness was launched in January 2017. The two are now co-chairs of the commission.[8]

Kennedy was a Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council, a role which included hosting a roundtable on the 2017 Iranian presidential election. Following the General Election in 2017 she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Theresa May. On Tuesday 4 April 2019, Kennedy was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care[9] following a series of appointments by Prime Minister Theresa May after several Ministerial resignations over the Government's handling of Brexit.

Personal life[edit]

Kennedy is married with 3 children. For over 22 years, she has been a trustee at St Giles Trust for Children, which organises an annual holiday for children with special needs. A multilingual, she also speaks French and Persian.


  1. ^ "Seema Kennedy MP". MyParliament. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ "About Seema Kennedy | Seema Kennedy". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Fleeing oppression taught me so much". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Seema Kennedy's CV, South Ribble, MP candidate, Conservative and Unionist Party - Democracy Club CVs". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Making History: Seema Ghiassi Kennedy, Britain's First MP of Iranian Descent | Kayhan Life". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Seema Kennedy, About". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  7. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  8. ^ "MPs launch Jo Cox Commission to tackle loneliness - BBC News". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care - GOV.UK". Retrieved 4 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lorraine Fullbrook
Member of Parliament
for South Ribble