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Vernon Rodney Coaker (born 17 June 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gedling since 1997. He served as the Minister of State for Schools from 2009 to 2010 and he has been the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence since October 2013.
Coaker went to Drayton Manor Grammar School in London. He studied for an Economics and Politics BA (Hons) at the University of Warwick, then obtained a PGCE at Trent Polytechnic (Clifton College of Education).
Coaker worked as a teacher, becoming a History teacher at Manvers Pierrepont School (now the Carlton Road Centre of Castle College Nottingham) from 1976 to 1982, then Head of Department at Arnold Hill School from 1982 to 1988. From 1989 to 1995 he was a senior teacher at Bramcote Park School and thence until 1997 he was Deputy Headmaster at Big Wood School in Bestwood, Nottingham. He is a member of the NUT.
Coaker served as a district councillor for the Cotgrave Ward in Rushcliffe from 1983 to 1997 and was leader of the Labour group on the council between 1987 and 1997. He contested the Rushcliffe constituency seat in 1983. He contested Gedling in 1987 and 1992 before defeating Andrew Mitchell in the 1997 election, becoming the first Labour MP to win the Gedling seat.
After a number of Parliamentary Private Secretary roles, Coaker became a government whip in May 2005 having been as assistant whip since June 2003. He served as a Minister of State at the Home Office between 2008 and 2009 before being moving to take up the role of Minister of State for Schools and Learning between 2009 and 2010. Following the Labour defeat at the 2010 General Election, Coaker was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 2011.
Shortly after being appointed Minister for Drugs and Crime Reduction in the May 2006 reshuffle, he revealed to the Coventry Evening Telegraph that he had had "one or two puffs" of cannabis as a student but did not enjoy it. His admission was made during a nationwide tour to evaluate the effectiveness of the government's drugs strategy.
He also supports people taking part in shooting sports and angling.
In January 2010 Coaker apologised for remarks that misled MPs. He had earlier told MPs that 70 police officers were hurt as a result of a global warming protest at Kingsnorth power station. In fact there were only 12 injuries that were legally reportable with just four of those involving contact with another person. The remaining eight injuries included "wasp sting", an injury while "sitting in a car", and an officer succumbing "to sun and heat". There were 68 injuries in total with the rest being treated by first-aiders at the scene. The whole operation had involved more than 1,000 officers.
- ‘COAKER, Vernon Rodney’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 9 Jan 2013
- "Drugs minister 'smoked marijuana'". BBC news. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Shooting Times
- "Apology over policing 'injuries'". BBC News. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- Parish Council Election Results 2003
- Vernon Coaker website
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for
|Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
| Succeeded by|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Defence