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Shailesh Lakhman Vara (born 4 September 1960) is a Britishmarker Conservative Party politician. He was elected Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshiremarker in the 2005 general election, succeeding Brian Mawhinney as the Conservative MP for the seat. Shailesh Vara has previously been a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party. In 2006 he was appointed to the shadow ministerial post of Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.

Early life

Born in Uganda to Hindu Indianmarker Immigrants. Vara came to Britain with his family in 1964 when he was 4. Educated at Aylesbury Grammar Schoolmarker and Brunel Universitymarker, Vara qualified as a solicitor. He worked in the City and West End of London, and during 1989-1990, he worked in Hong Kongmarker. Vara has been a senior legal adviser and business consultant for London First, and is vice-president of the Small Business Bureau.

He also has a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do and set up his own club where he taught for a while.

Vara is married with two children.

Political career

Vara has been involved with the Conservative Party since the late 1980s and has held various posts at local, regional and national levels. As Vice Chairman of the Party, he had a broad range of responsibilities. These included advising Michael Howard, deputising for the Party Chairman, Party spokesman with the media and looking after Conservative Future (which comprises the 10,000 or so people in the party under 30).

Vara was elected Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshiremarker in May 2005. He had previously contested the Birmingham Ladywoodmarker seat at the 1997 general election, which Labour's Clare Short held on to, and Northampton Southmarker in the 2001 general election, which Vara failed to win by only 885 votes.

At the Conservative Party Conference in 2000, he was awarded the accolade of official "rising star" of the Party, with Lord Alexander of Weedon describing him as a "future Conservative Party leader".

In the run up to the 2001 general election, Shailesh was a member of the Party's manifesto teams for Law and Order and Legal Affairs.

In 2003, Shailesh was invited by the US government to take part in their "Young European Leaders" programme in which he was elected group leader by his fellow delegates from 12 countries.

Breast Cancer Bill

The Breast Cancer Bill [141239] was Shailesh's chosen issue after he was one of 20 MPs who were selected at random to introduce a Private Members Bill to the House, and he has campaigned enthusiastically to broaden the age of routine breast cancer screening for women from the present 50-70 age group to 45-75 years.

However, the government refused to support the Bill and "talked it out". This is a device whereby bills can be blocked when the Minister concerned continues speaking until it is time for the debate to end, and by doing so, the Bill is effectively stopped from further progress. [141240]

Shailesh Vara has given his backing to Breast Cancer Campaign’s (BCC) award winning national "wear it pink" day, and showed his support for breast cancer charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer at a meeting in the House of Commonsmarker.

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