Born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1959, Tommy was educated at a local grammar school and, equipped with the requisite A levels, moved to Scotland to study medicine at Aberdeen University. He graduated with a degree in politics and sociology – the start of a lifelong interest in politics (see more below). He returned to Scotland in 1993 and established the Stand Comedy Club in 1995, which he started as a hobby and built into a successful business. Tommy lives in Newington with his partner Kate and cocker spaniel Henry.
Tommy also has a longstanding, active political background. He held office in the National Union of Students, was formerly a Councillor in London and moved back to Scotland having been appointed under leader John Smith, to be a full-time organiser for the Labour Party. Under Tony Blair, Tommy describes the Labour Party as having left him. In September 2014, after spending two years working on the Yes campaign he finally got round to joining the SNP.
In May 2015, Tommy Sheppard was elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 9,106 and 49.2% of the vote. Tommy was appointed as the SNP’s spokesperson on the Cabinet Office.
In June 2017 there was a snap general election. Tommy was returned at the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East. He was then appointed as the SNP's spokesperson on the House of Lords, Cabinet and Scotland Offices.
In December 2019 Tommy faced his third general election in five years as another snap general election was called. Tommy was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 10,417. In January 2020 he was appointed as the SNP Shadow Leader of the House.
His particular political interests include human rights, Palestine, anti-poverty, drug law reform, austerity and equality issues.
Tommy’s constituency office is at 94 Portobello High Street. This is usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm (although it is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19). Tommy holds regular advice surgeries across the constituency - these are currently taking place virtually.
The story so far
|1959||Tommy born at the Mary Rankin hospital, Coleraine. Spends his first seven years living in an estate known locally as The Heights.|
|1966||Moves to Portstewart just four miles away.|
|1970||Passes the eleven plus and goes to the local grammar school in Coleraine.|
|1977||Equipped with requisite A levels, sets off to Aberdeen University to study medicine.|
|1982||Graduates with a degree in politics and sociology having spent rather more time on student politics than academia. Elected Vice-president of NUS and heads to London.|
|1984||Leaves NUS after two years full time and works in London’s East End campaigning against racism and police harassment.|
|1986||Gets elected to Hackney Council at age of 27 as member of the Labour Party. Convenes Police, Leisure and then Finance committees.|
|1990||Re-elected as Councillor and become Deputy Leader of the authority.|
|1992||Stands for parliament in Bury St Edmunds. Loses and starts planning move back to Scotland.|
|1993||Arrives in Edinburgh to take up position as senior official with District Council.|
|1994||Appointed Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland under John Smith’s leadership.|
|1995||Starts The Stand Comedy Club as a hobby and runs first shows during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.|
|1996||Fails to win TV’s Masterchef|
|1997||Made redundant from Labour Party job over disagreements on whether Scottish party should control its own affairs. Starts working freelance and decides to turn The Stand into a business.|
|1998||The Stand opens as Scotland’s first full time comedy club in York Place – Tommy starts working as the company’s director.|
|2000||Second Stand club opens in Glasgow – job becomes full time.|
|2003||Tommy fails to renew membership as the Labour Party leaves him.|
|2011||Takes the business across the border to open The Stand in Newcastle.|
|2012||Work expands as company wins contract to run The Assembly Rooms as a major fringe venue. Meanwhile Tommy becomes local (south Edinburgh) organiser of the Yes Scotland campaign.|
|2014||Joined SNP after the referendum results in narrow vote against independence.|
|2015||Elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 9,106 and 49.2% of the vote|
|2015||Became SNP Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office|
|2015||Elected as Vice-Convener of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine.|
|2016||Tommy stood for election as Depute Leader of the SNP and came second to Angus Robertson|
|2017||Re-elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 3,425 and 42.5% of the vote.|
|2017||Appointed SNP Spokesperson for the House of Lords, Scotland and Cabinet Offices|
|2019||Re-elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 10,417 and 48.4% of the vote|
|2020||Appointed SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons|
Danny Aston - Senior Caseworker and Parliamentary Assistant
Danny spends a large amount of his time supporting constituents – helping those having a problem with a UK Government Department. Danny leads on monitoring significant planning applications in the constituency and on community engagement - liaising with charities, local organisations and community councils.
Danny became actively involved in politics during the indyref. He joined the SNP afterwards and has taken on several roles since - he was a campaign manager for the local government elections and was Deputy Campaign Coordinator for Tommy during the 2017 and 2019 General Elections. Danny also serves the party at a national level being on both the policy development and conference committees..
Aside from politics, his interests include literature, history, philosophy and football (especially Hibs and Scotland).
Nicola Cook - Senior Admin OfficerNicola joined the team in 2017 and is responsible for the smooth running of Tommy’s diary (not an easy task!) as well as other administrative tasks in the office. Nicola leads on organising events in Westminster including arranging visits for constituents. Nicola’s background is in marketing and events, before running a small business with her family. In her spare time Nicola volunteers with Girlguiding Edinburgh, and is a City-wide adviser for Rainbow Guides.
Roz Currie - Chief of StaffAs Tommy’s Chief of Staff Roz manages the office and team in the constituency and supports Tommy in his work at Westminster. She manages communications, campaigns, policy development and research and leads in supporting Tommy’s political and parliamentary work. Roz joined the SNP after the referendum and quickly became active. She was Tommy’s Campaign Manager during the 2017 and 2019 snap Westminster elections. She has been elected to the SNP National Executive Committee for the past three years - voted for annually by SNP members. Roz is a qualified Educational Psychologist and retains her interest in this field.
Lisa Goddard - Admin Assistant (Part-Time)Lisa supports Tommy and the office team with the significant amount of admin work an MP’s office faces. This includes maintaining record keeping, responding to enquiries that come into the office and monitoring Tommy’s website. Lisa has previously worked for the Scottish government and is an active member of her community – volunteering with the Magdalene Community Garden. She enjoys keeping fit, including a recent scale of Ben Nevis, and enjoys a craft gin and tonic.
Simon Sheddon - Senior Caseworker and Parliamentary Assistant
Simon joined Tommy’s team after several years working in the Council both in Welfare Rights and Housing. In his role Simon takes a lead on casework, supporting individual constituents requiring assistance and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.
In this role he also often identifies specific problems that may be happening as a direct result of Tory policies at Westminster. He would then lead on campaigns to challenge unfair legislation or improve the way that policy is implemented.
Simon is an active member of his local SNP branch and has taken on several roles. He enjoys tennis and is a big fan of Andy Murray. He also enjoys a spot of home cooking – especially with a glass of red wine.