London: Indian-origin lawmaker Paramjit Singh Dhanda is among the 10 contenders for the job of Speaker of House of Commons as the British Parliament votes on Monday for the post amidst raging controversy over the expenses row.
The 37-year-old Labour MP from Gloucester is in the run up to succeed Michael Martin, who steps down after suffering the humiliation of being the first to be forced out since 1695.
Dhanda, a Sikh and father of two, was born in London to Punjabi immigrants who came to Britain in 1960s. His mother was a cleaner at a hospital and his father a lorry driver.
He was elected to House of Commons in 2001 and became a minister in the Communities Department in 2007. He noted that there was a lack of ministers with Indian roots when he was sacked in a reshuffle last year.
In an e-mail to all MPs, Dhanda has said that he was not "an obvious choice". "Until I see someone more likely to win who will fight for the causes I spell out here, I'll be in this contest," he added.
Tory party's John Bercow is the bookies' favourite to win the vote among MPs. Other frontrunners include fellow Conservative Sir George Young, Labour ex-minister Frank Field and Liberal Democrat Sir Alan Beith.
"We must make no mistake, Parliament is broken," Bercow was quoted as saying by a newspaper.