Four weeks today people of the UK will be going to the polls on May 7 to place a cross on the ballot paper to elect the 56th parliament and the end result has never been so uncertain.
As former Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said ‘a week is a long time in politics’, and exactly how engaged the country will be in a month is becoming increasingly hard to tell.
So far 2015 has been one of the most curious elections in living memory. While 2010 had one dominant narrative – the rise of Nick Clegg – this time around it’s as though the political story could splinter off into a multitude of different directions.
The race so far in 2015 is compared to the close runs election between Conservative John Major and Labour’s Neil Kinnock in 1992.
Even to the last it will be hard to predict.
But is this even a race between the two biggest party leaders, David Cameron and Ed Miliband? Are voters just hedging their bets on either side of a broad ideological line and expecting it will be a Coalition of either the right or left.
However, with four weeks to go we still hear the argument ‘they’re all the same’. This has never been more apparent than the comments on Facebook following the seven-way leader’s debate last Thursday. Of course they’re not all the same, but it’s the fault of every party on the ballot paper if they can’t do enough to distinguish themselves during the campaign trail.
Most worryingly of all is the number of people who won’t vote at all. With a month to go, the discussion is as much about whether to get to the polling station at all, as it is about which party to back.
Polling cards are now starting to drop through people’s letter boxes if they’ve already registered to vote.
However, this year’s election has seen the record number Bangladeshi candidates in British History. These thirteen candidates are fighting from three main parties of the UK.
Among these 13 candidates, Rushanara Ali, Tulip Siddiq and Rupa Huq are favourites to win. Other candidates from different parts of the UK will be contesting strongly.
We are hopeful of increasing the Bangladeshi representation in Westminster after this year’s election. For Bangla Mirror readers, we are publishing the full list and brief information of twelve British Bangladeshi candidates taking part in this year’s parliamentary election:
Rushanara Ali was born in Bangladesh. With her family, Rushanara immigrated to the East End of London at the age of seven, where she attended Mulberry School for Girls and Tower Hamlets College. She grew up in Tower Hamlets and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St John’s College, Oxford.
Ali worked on human rights issues at the Foreign Office from 2000-2001. Prior to this, she was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) focussing on anti-discrimination issues from 1999-2002. From 2002-2005, she worked in the community cohesion unit at the Communities Directorate of the Home Office, leading a work programme to mobilise local and national agencies in the aftermath of the 2001 riots in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham, to prevent further conflict and unrest, challenging central Government to provide appropriate support to these areas.
Rushanara Ali has published articles on a variety of political issues in numerous national and local media including The Guardian, Prospect magazine and Progress magazine. Ali has also appeared on Question Time Extra, BBC Radio 4‘s Woman’s Hour and Thinking Allowed. She was listed by The Guardian as one of the most powerful Muslim women in Britain.
In April 2007, Ali was chosen as the Labour Party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow, and on 6 May 2010, was elected as a Member of Parliament with a majority of 11,574 votes. She is the first person of Bangladeshi origin to have been elected to the House of Commons and along with Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi, became one of the United Kingdom’s first female Muslim MPs.
She resigned from the Labour frontbench in order to abstain on the Coalition government’s House of Commons motion permitting military action in Iraq on 26 September 2014. In a letter to the leader of the party-Ed Miliband, she wrote “I appreciate the sincerity of Members of Parliament from all sides of the House who today support military action against ISIL. I know that British Muslims stand united in the total condemnation of the murders that ISIL have committed..However, there is a genuine belief in Muslim and non-Muslim communities that military action will only create further bloodshed and further pain for the people of Iraq,” Ali also told Miliband that she remained totally committed to his leadership and was looking forward to him becoming the prime minister in next eight months’ time.In his return letter to Ali, Miliband praised her as ‘someone with great ability and talent’. Regretting her departure from the frontbench team, the Labour leader added that he accepted the resignation with due respect to her decision.
At the age of 16, Siddiq joined Labour Party, She has worked for Amnesty International, the Greater London Authority, Philip Gould Associates, Save the Children, and Brunswick, where she worked on corporate social responsibilities initiatives for major British manufacturers, as well as MPs Oona King, Sadiq Khan and Harry Cohen. Siddiq worked on Ed Miliband‘s campaign to be leader of the Labour Party, and as a special advisor to Tessa Jowell. She has campaigned for political parties internationally and in 2008, she campaigned for Barack Obama in the U.S.
In May 2010, Siddiq became the first Bengali woman in Camden Council, where she held a cabinet position with responsibility for culture and communities until May 2014.
During 2013 and 2014, since being selected as Labour candidate, Siddiq has campaigned on various topics, including against the proposed high-speed railway expansion High Speed 2, and in opposition to high pay day lender charges on Kilburn High Road. She has also campaigned in support of local services, such as to keep Belsize Fire Station open, to improve disabled access at West Hampstead tube station and to save the Swiss Cottage post office.
Siddiq is a Muslim, has referred to herself as a socialist and has stated opposition to the Iraq War. She has attributed the NHS and the care her disabled father received as the reason why she joined the Labour Party.
In 2013, Siddiq married Christian William St John Percy, who is a Cambridge-educated strategy consultant with a background in the British civil service. The wedding reception was held a few months later on 7 July in West Ham, London. Siddiq lives in West Hampstead, London with her family.
Rupa Huq was a researcher for Tony Banks and Patricia Hewitt. In 2004, Huq stood as a parliamentary candidate for Labour in the European Parliament election in the North West.
In 2005, she stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate in the safe Conservative seat of Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire (Conservative majority of 11,882) at the 2005 general election.She received 6,610 votes, however, lost to the Conservative candidate Cheryl Gillan who had 11,882 votes
Huq was one of three Labour candidates campaigning for a council seat in Walpole in the constituency of Ealing. In 2010, after the local elections, she became the Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Ealing for the municipal year 2010 – 2011
On 2 November 2013, Huq was chosen by Labour as their prospective parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton constituency to challenge Conservative MP Angie Bray at the 2015 UK general election.
Rupa’s teaching career started In 1998, when she moved to Manchester From 1998 to 2004, She was a lecturer at University of Manchester, during which she held a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship.
Since September 2004, Huq was a senior lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She also teaches Media and Cultural Studies.
Rupa Huq has a column in Tribune, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, New Statesman, Progress magazine and The Times Higher Education Supplement.
Huq’s research specialism has chiefly been youth culture and pop music. In 2006, her book Beyond Subculture: youth, pop and identity in a post-colonial worldon these themes was published. It was subsequently one of five titles shortlisted for the 2007 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial prize. In May 2012, her second book Making Sense of Suburbia through Popular Culture was published. Huq was a contributor to the 2011 book What Next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation, published by Queensferry Publishing.
In 1980, Huq made her first television appearance on the BBC’s Schools Programme holding a teloscope. She has since appeared on Channel S and Bangla TV as well as Channel 4 News and BBC News 24. On radio, she has been on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Asian Network.
Anawar Babul Miah:
Mr Anawar Babul Miah was born in Holiarpara, Jagganathpur Thana in the Sunamgonj region of Bangladesh. He is the son of Late Alhaj Barik Miah who settled in the United Kingdom in 1957 and is the Founding Chairman of a major British investment company.
Anawar was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in 1998. Anawar is the President of the British Bangladeshi Practicing Barristers Association. Anawar is an expert on complex financial arrangements and he practices law from Great James Street Chambers near Chancery Lane in Central London. His chambers have been involved in notable cases including acting in cases associated with the September 11th attacks in New York and cases involving the Enron Corporation of America scandal. His chambers have also been involved in publications such as the leading authority on Extradition and Mutual Assistance published by Sweet and Maxwell and ‘Blackstone’s Guide to the Terrorism Act 2006’ published by Oxford University Press.
Aside from legal issues Anawar has written numerous articles on current affairs which have been published.
Anawar is also the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for the General Elections in 2015 for his home constituency of Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
Anawar is married to Sony Sadaf Haroon, who is also a Barrister of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and she runs her own law firm in St Albans Hertfordshire United Kingdom.
Anawar’s pastimes include travelling, reading English literature and studying traditional English architecture.
Mina Sabera Rahman
Mina Sabera Rahman was born in a respectable Muslim family in Chhatak, Sunamganj, Sylhet. She is the eldest daughter among four sons of Alhaj Abdul Ghani and Rabiya Begum. She came tothe UK with her parents as an infant of 21 days old and lived in Birmingham with her parents and brothers before moving to London in the 1970’s.
Mina is married to renowned Bangladeshi politician and community worker Goyasur Rahman Goyas. Goyas previously worked for the NHS, various community organisations, owned businesses and currently is proprietor of a property management business. ey have 4 children and have lived in Redbridge for the last 20 years.
On completion of her study, Mina started her career as one of the first outreach workers for Jagonari Centre in East London following it’s establishment in 1985. In 1986 Mina commenced working for the National Health Service based at the Royal Lon-don Hospital as a Health Worker. Having successfully worked in various departments of the NHS Mina decided to change her career.
Mina initiated her career in Housing in 1992 as a PATH trainee and achieved the Higher National Certificate in Housing. Subsequently, Mina secured a job with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets as a part time estate officer. Due to studying and having a young family Mina worked part time for a number of years until she joined Tower Hamlets Community Housing in March 2000.
Mina commenced as a Housing Officer and was consecutively promoted to Senior Housing Officer followed by Housing Office Manager.
Despite having family commitments, established career, studying and voluntary duties Mina continued developing excellent leadership skills and are a very influential person. She attained ac creditation in numerous fields including Prince 2 Project Management, Supervision in Neighbourhood Nuisance & Anti Social Behaviour, Employment Law, Institute of Leadership &
Mina established London Bangla Women’s Network in 2004 to help women suffering domestic violence and empower women. Mina remains Chairperson of this thriving organisation with ac-
cumulative members in Redbridge, Newham, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Barking & Havering.
Mina is politically very active and established Conservative Friends of Bangladesh, Redbridge Branch increasing membership in the Conservative Party. Mina holds various officer role within the Conservative Party and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Ilford South Conservative Association. Mina successfully passed the Parliamentary Assessment Board and is a Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Barking.
Mr Chaudhury is an accomplished local politician and community activist who has gained immense respect both in Northamptonshire and nationally.
Whilst he was pursuing his Career to become a Barrister at The University of Northampton his interest in Politics prevailed. Therefore Mr Chaudhury joined the Liberal Democrats and was successful in winning his seat in the Borough Council election on 5th May 2007. He was the only British Bangladeshi Councillor in Northamptonshire between 2007-11.
His family moved to Northamptonshire in the early 1970’s and he himself has been a permanent resident of Northampton for over 25years. He is a former Executive Committee Member of the (NBA) Northampton Bangladeshi Association and has been involved with the organisation for many years.
He has been selected as the Parliamentary Candidate for his beloved home town “Northampton South” and will be contesting the 2015 general elections. The Bangladeshi Community have co-existed in Northampton for almost 50 years and this is first time any Asian or BME candidate is to stand. This is a huge privilege and achievement for the Bangladeshi community in Northampton.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said” I would like to see Sadik as the first Asian MP from Northampton, his commitment, dedication, and work ethic has impressed me throughout the years”.
He is a young, vibrant and dynamic Community Activist, who is the first point of contact for Bangladeshi people in Northampton. He is also known for his involvement in football and other sporting activities for the last 19 years.
Alongside his efforts and hard work with the Bangladeshi Community he is also actively involved with the wider community in Northampton such as the Somali, Nigerian and Turkish communities and many more; helping to build social and racial harmony amongst various communities, based on understanding and respect for each other. He is also a Trustee of Corby Central Masjid in Northamptonshire.
He was the first ethnic minority person appointed by the Secretary of State for Planning as a Committee Member of WNDC (West Northamptonshire Development Corporation) and he was involved in the major development and extension of the University of Northampton, Northampton College, Northampton Cricket Club and South Northamptonshire. He has received many prestigious local and national awards and recognition from various organisations for his relentless community and charity work. One of which was raising some £5,000 for Northampton General Hospital, which has resulted in him being highly recognised by the NHS for his immense work. In 2011 he was honoured to attend Her Majesty Queen’s Royal Garden Party.
Mr Chaudhury has always demonstrated commitment to the local community and has always been involved in various activities and organisations to build a better knowledge and understanding amongst the wider community in the town. Surely he is the role model for the Asian community.
Barrister Marina Ahmad has been nominated from Beckenham Constituency of Greater London. By profession Marina Ahmad is a course facilitator of various children’s Centres. She has been a labour party member for last 30 years. Her father was a restaurant businessman.
Marina Ahmad came to the UK with her parents when she was only six months old. On her election campaign letter, Marina addressed that in 70’s, British Asians were subjects of many discriminations and wrongdoings. She mentioned that she believes in social justice.
Marina Ahmad took her BA Honours in English and History from the University of Surrey. Later she obtained Post Graduate Diploma on Development Studies from the University of Bath and Post Graduate Diploma on Law from City University.
Marina Ahmad worked as Health Promotion Officer and Manager in NHS. She spent two years in Bangladesh as part of her International Development Department job and worked as Street Children Literacy Worker. She developed health care system for the slum dwellers in Bangladesh as a project co-ordinator of a hospital. Marina Ahmad is also a founder member of Amnesty Bangladesh.
Marina Ahmad worked with ministers and many high ranking civil officials. She has also worked in the Crown Prosecution Department.
Marina Ahmad is mother of two children and a parent Governor. She is also involved with many charity works locally.
She will be competing from Beckenham constituency which is counted as a safe seat for conservatives.
Ali Akhlakul Islam
Ali Akhlakul Islam is living in Luton since his childhood and studied in Denbigh High school. His family immigrated to the UK in 1960. He has worked in restaurants and has management experience. He had to work hard to get this nomination.
Akhlakul expressed his deep optimism to win the parliamentary seat from his constituency. He said he would run campaigns on reducing crime, create more opportunities for elderly, increase health care provision and bringing in for jobs and facilities for the youth.
He also said that his vision is to bring positive changes in the society.
Ashuk Ahmed MBE has received the nomination of Liberal Democrat Party and will contest from Luton South.
He has been an active member of the Luton Liberal Democrats for over 20 years and has been serving the community in Luton for over 35 years.
Educated at the University of Bedfordshire and De Montfort University, Ashuk Ahmed has over 25 years of local government work experience, including working for Luton Borough Council.
Ashuk has also served the local community from all walks of life, mainly within the Luton South constituency, on a voluntary basis for over 30 years. Ashuk has initiated several award winning charities and community projects, which are still in operation in the constituency and are continuing to making positive differences in the lives of many individuals and communities.
Ashuk has been serving as a school governor since 2004, as well as a member of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) for Bedfordshire Police. In the past, Ashuk has also served as a Trustee for Voluntary Action Luton and Luton Assembly.
Currently employed locally as Community Development Coordinator by a Registered Social Landlord, Ashuk has held a number of posts promoting & organising community activities and was awarded MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 in recognition of services to young people.
Shumon Haque has received Scottish Labour Party nomination from Banff and Buchan constitience of Scotland. He is form Jigly village of Chatok Upozilla in Sunamganj. Shumon’s father is a prominent businessman in Sylhet. Shumon has graduated from Aberdeen University in Scotland and working for World Health Organisation for last years. He has been working in Independent Telivision.
Md Sultan has been nominated form Liberal Democrats from Bangor, North Wales. Cllr Md Sultan has been living in Bangor in North Wales ofr last 40 years. He has been serving the local community and involved in politics for a long time. He was elected as a councillor for Gwynedd area of Bangor in 2012. He is very well known for his business and charitable activities in local area. He is the Vice-Chairman of Greater Sylhet Council Chester region and founder Chairman of Bangor Bangladesh Welfare Association.
Md Sultan is form Mokamdowar village Jalalpur Union of South Surma in Sylhet city.
Md Rowshan Ali
Md Rowshan Ali is a Candidate for MP in Bethnal Green and Bow Constituency for the General Elections on 07 May 2015
He has lived in the Bethnal Green and Bow for the past 13 years and has been working as a social entrepreneur since the beginning of his higher studies and thrives to establish a better community, and minimise crime from the community through job creation, developing better relationships to different ethnic groups. He has represented the community in different national and international forum. As a candidate he wants to help change the dynamics of the way the city makes decisions. He said Bethnal Green and Bow constituency needs people who are willing to put local needs before party politics and must involve local communities of all ages and backgrounds, and change area for the better
Amran Hussain has been selected as the Labour Party candidate to fight for the the North East Hampshire seat and will be contesting the seat that had been occupied by Conservative James Arbuthnot.
Mr Hussain, who is a national delivery officer for NHS England and will be moving to Fleet, told that he was “delighted” to have been selected, adding: “I come from a hard background. Some of the hard-pressed families would relate to my background, living in a housing estate, going to a comprehensive school and progressing up the ladder.
“Some of the key priorities for me are the issues highlighted by the residents I have spoken to which are public transport, housing and better healthcare. These are some of the issues I will be campaigning on.
“My priority would be to ensure many people have a say and together decide where the best places to do further development are.”