HE insists he is still learning the job – 30 years on.
And as Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman celebrates three decades as the town’s MP, he insists: “It’s the best job in the world”.
Mr Sheerman, 68, was elected MP for the Huddersfield East constituency, as it then was, on May 3, 1979.
He succeeded the late JPW Mallalieu, a man who had been the MP since the Second World War.
Now Mr Sheerman, a father of four, is looking ahead to even more years in Westminster.
He has already been adopted as Labour candidate for the next General Election and is adamant that, despite the recent bad Press for MPs, it is a role he loves.
“I love this job, especially representing a town like Huddersfield. This is a wonderful place with so much going for it and one of my roles is to ensure that we are not average, but that we are excellent in everything we do.
“MPs and Westminster have been criticised, especially over the political expenses, but I care very deeply.
“We need to get the mess sorted out; in any group of 650 people there are those who are good, those who are brilliant, but also those who do stupid things and give all of us a bad name.
“People have criticised the fact that MPs have second homes, but without that it would be hard for a family man to do this job. We need regular people to be MPs, people with families.
“The solution is simple: We need a fully independent body deciding on MPs pay and expenses and all parties must accept the findings without reservation”.
Mr Sheerman – who fought Tory Edward Du Cann in Torbay before taking on the Huddersfield challenge – came into politics late.
He admits his education was somewhat lacking in his teenage years and he left school with few qualifications to work at ICI Paints in Slough.
It was there that people pushed him into thinking about further education – a cause he now champions.
He went on to the London School of Economics to earn a Masters in politics and economic history and now firmly believes in education for all and for all ages.
“It may be formal education in great establishments like the University of Huddersfield, or it may be in apprenticeships.
“I would love to see our councils, our health trusts, our colleges, offering new apprenticeships to young people.
“I am proud to be chairman of the Select Committee for Children and Families as it means I can shape long-term policies for every school, every college, every university.
“But I’m also proud to be a constituency MP, working with groups in Huddersfield to make this town great. I have seen us modernise and embrace challenge over the past 30 years and there is more to do.
“I was the third youngest MP back in 1979. Now they describe me as a veteran politician. I’m delighted to be still there”.
IT was one of his first big challenges in Parliament.
But Barry Sheerman, the fledgling Labour MP for Huddersfield, was determined to get it right.
He was the man who helped push through the Commons the legislation which in 1983 required drivers and passengers in vehicles to wear seatbelts.
Now he says: “I think we got it right. There are a few people walking around today who would not be doing so had that law not been brought in”.
Other facts about the MP:
He was born on August 17, 1940 in Sunbury on Thames.
He and his future wife Pamela shared a stage for Alice in Wonderland at primary school. Sheerman was Tweedledum
The couple married in Surrey in 1965
They have four children: Lucy, Madlin – now a special adviser to Foreign Secretary Ed Milliband – John, an actor with his own production company, and Verity, who is training to be a lawyer.
Sheerman’s majority at the 2005 General Election was 8,351.
Since becoming an MP, he has been a spokesman on education and employment, home affairs and disabled rights.
He voted in 76% of the Commons debates last year.
His expenses last year totalled £160,353, with the biggest expense being £92,261 on staffing.