Dent Coad was elected to the Conservative-controlled Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council in 2006, representing the Golborne ward. She served as leader of the opposition Labour Group on the council from 2014-15. She served as a council-appointed board member of Kensington and Chelsea TMO, the tenant management organisation which manages the council's housing stock, from 27 June 2008 to 31 October 2012. She has been a member of the council's Planning Applications Committee since May 2013, and a member of the main Planning Committee since June 2014. She was a member of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
Dent Coad was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kensington at the 2017 snap election when she defeated the sitting Conservative]] MP [[Victoria Borwick, with a majority of just 20 votes, overturning a 7,361 majority from the previous election two years earlier. The announcement was made at around 21:00 on Friday 9 June 2017, after three recounts, and was the final result declared of the 2017 UK general election. Dent Coad has attributed her electoral victory to dissatisfaction over the gentrification of the borough. Dent Coad maintains that the borough's poorer residents are sidelined or forced out to facilitate luxury developments. She has drawn attention to the scale of inequality, claiming that life expectancy is falling and malnutrition is present in the UK's wealthiest borough.
Dent Coad supported Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour leadership election.
She has spoken out in opposition to academy schools, the "bedroom tax" and benefit changes.
She is a housing campaigner and writes regularly about housing association standards, planning and development, conditions in social and rented homes, and related policy areas.
On 29 June 2017, Dent Coad was one of only two members of the new intake of Labour MPs to vote against the party whip and for an amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for the UK's continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union following Brexit.
Dent Coad is a republican; she joined the pressure group Republic in 2005 and is a former board member. At the 2017 Labour Party conference, Dent Coad received critical press coverage following a speech critical of the Royal Family, in particular Prince Harry. She later said that her remarks had been "a joke" which had been "taken the wrong way".
Grenfell Tower fire
In June 2017, Dent Coad blamed the Kensington and Chelsea council for failings which led to the Grenfell Tower fire. Dent Coad considers the fire an "entirely preventable" tragedy. Dent Coad said, “I can’t help thinking that poor quality materials and construction standards may have played a part in this hideous and unforgivable event.” Dent Coad links the council's intention to redevelop the area to the tragedy, she said, “The council want to develop this area full of social housing, and in order to enable that they have prettified a building that they felt was ugly ... The idea that that has led to this horrendous tragedy is just unthinkable.”
She is campaigning for permanent new homes in the area for victims of the tragedy rather than, "some mucky bedsit". She has added “People are very afraid of what is going to happen next. They need to be kept within Kensington. The fear I was hearing yesterday was "they’re going to send us to Peterborough or to Hastings", all the other places that the council has tried to send them before. People want to stay near their networks where their children go to school, where their families are. Poverty in Kensington and the fire were the subjects of her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 22 June 2017.
On 4 July 2017, Dent Coad said that residents had no confidence in Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry, describing him as "a technocrat" who lacked "credibility". She supports calls for "reparations" to the community in the form of restoring local assets and services such as a college and a library which are under threat, and claims that many on the council see those in social housing as "lesser beings."