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.