Toby Perkins was elected as the Member of Parliament for Chesterfield in the 2010 general Election, overturning a Lib Dem majority of over 3,000 to be elected by just 549 votes. Chesterfield was only one of three gains by the Labour party at that General Election. Toby started as he meant to go on, raising the concerns of local schoolteachers at David Cameron’s first PMQs after the election.
Toby was named in Ed Miliband’s Shadow Front Bench Team as a Shadow Education Minister and was the first of the new intake of MPs from the 2010 General Election to speak from the Dispatch Box.
The following year Toby was appointed as Shadow Minister for Enterprise and Small Business where he was responsible for policies on Access to Finance, Small Businesses, Regulation/ de-regulation, Insolvency, Procurement, Pubs and the High Street. Toby also led opposition day debates for the party on pub company regulation, Sunday trading laws for the Olympics and on the Deregulation Bill alongside Chi Onwurah.
In 2015, following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader, Toby was appointed as Shadow Armed Forces Minister which he held until his resignation in June 2016.
On leaving the front bench, he was elected Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pub Group, on which he has contributed to the government’s review of the pubs code, and where he has introduced the inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year Award in 2018. He is currently chair of the All-Party Parliamentary group for Tennis, and was chair of Labour Friends of the Forces from January 2016 to October 2020.
Toby has sat on the Communities and Local Government, International Trade, Home Affairs and Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committees.
In 2020, following the election of Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party, Keir asked Toby to rejoin the Labour front bench, appointing him to the Shadow Education Team as the Shadow Minister for Apprenticeships and Lifelong Learning. In the reshuffle of December 2021 Toby’s title was changed to the Shadow Minister for Skills and Further Education. In September 2023 Toby was appointed to the shadow DEFRA team as the Shadow Minister for Nature and Rural Affairs.
Toby was re-elected at subsequent elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019, and Chesterfield is now the only Labour seat outside of the cities in the whole of the East Midlands.
Toby has spent all his adult life in Chesterfield and currently lives in the West Ward of Chesterfield Borough. Before becoming an MP Toby was a Councillor for the Rother Ward on Chesterfield Borough Council, ran his own small business supplying rugby clothing and was a Director in a social enterprise providing nursery care to one of the most deprived areas of Chesterfield.