Dawn Petula Butler (born 3 November 1969) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent Central since the May 2015 general election, having sat for Brent South from 2005 to 2010. Butler has served as Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement in the Cabinet Office.
In October 2016, she was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn to the new role of Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities. After resigning to oppose the Labour leadership in a vote on the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on 1 February 2017, Butler returned to the role on 14 June. On 31 August, Butler was appointed as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
Butler's first attempt at entering Parliament was in Hackney South and Shoreditch where she featured on a Labour all-women shortlist but was unsuccessful. Butler put herself forward for selection for West Ham but was not selected. Following the retirement of Paul Boateng to become British High Commissioner to South Africa, she was selected as the Labour candidate in Brent South and retained the seat for her party at the 2005 general election with a majority of 11,326.
Interest in youth services continued as one of her main interests in Parliament. On 24 October 2006 she was appointed Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs, and she is an Honorary Vice President of the British Youth Council. After Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, on 27 June 2007, Butler was made one of the Labour Party's six Vice Chairs, with particular responsibility for Youth issues.
She was appointed to the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons shortly after her election, and served on standing committees (notably on the Violent Crime Reduction Bill 2006). In November 2007 she was appointed to the Children & Families Select Committee. Earlier (in November 2005), she had been promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to the health minister Jane Kennedy, but decided to stand down from this post in early 2006.
On 6 November 2007, Butler was chosen to second the Queen’s Speech. Her voting record shows that Butler was largely loyal to the government. She was promoted to Assistant Whip on 12 September 2008.
Return to the Commons in 2015
Butler was the Labour candidate for Brent Central at the general election in 2015. Prior to the election, Teather had announced she would stand down from parliament, so she did not contest the seat. Butler was comfortably returned to parliament with a majority of more than 19,000 votes over the Conservative Party, with the Liberal Democrats dropping to third place, polling just 8%.
Dawn Butler was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.
Butler is a former chair of the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party. Butler was appointed as Labour's Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities in early October 2016. At the beginning of the following February, she resigned from this post just before the vote on the second reading in the House of Commons of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 which triggers Article 50 which carried a three-line whip imposed on Labour MPs. She was reappointed to the post on 14 June 2017. On 31 August, following the earlier resignation of Sarah Champion, Butler became the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
On 22 June 2017, Butler launched a new cross-party parliamentary group, the Parliamentary Black Caucus, concerned with ethnic minority issues.