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Female Muslim MPs outnumber male Muslim MPs in UK Parliament

National

January 20, 2020

LONDON: For the first time in history of British Parliament, there are more female Muslim MPs than male Muslim parliamentarians.

Overall, after the Dec 12 general elections, the number of female MPs is now 220 which is also a new record beating the previous record of 208 female MPs set in 2017 elections. In the previous Parliament after the 2017 general elections, there were 16 MPs of Muslim faith - out of those eight were female. In the current Parliament, the number of Muslim MPs has risen to a new record of 21. Out of those 21 MPs of Muslim faith, 11 are females: six of these female Muslim MPs are of Pakistani/Kashmiri origin; four of Bangladeshi origin and one is of Kurdish background.

Before the Dec 12 general elections Labour Party set a new record by giving more than 50 percent tickets to female candidates in general elections. And now after the elections, Labour has more female MPs in Parliament than men.

Out of 203 elected labour members of Parliament 103 are female, which is more than 50 percent. As many as 20 female Pakistani background candidates stood on prominent 20 seats but only six could make it to Westminster.

Five out of six were re-elected including Shabana Mahmood, Yasmin Qureshi, Naz Shah, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan from Labour and Nusrat Ghani from Conservative while Zarah Sultana of Labour has been elected for the first time.

Labour’s Zarah Sultana has made a new record by becoming the youngest ever Muslim member of Parliament after winning a nail biting contest from Coventry South aged 27. Here’s a brief profile of all six female MPs of Pakistani background.

Zarah Sultana was born in 1992 in Birmingham. She is of Kashmiri origin and has now become the youngest ever Pakistani origin member of Parliament. She had to face a tough fight in elections from her Conservative opponent after Labour awarded her ticket from Coventry South, a seat held by Labour since 1960.

Zarah’s grandfather moved from Kashmir and settled in Birmingham in 1960s. During her university years, she was also elected to the Executive Council of NUS (National Union of Students).

Her campaign in election was backed by various unions and by Momentum, a group of diehard supporters of labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. She holds a record of the youngest Pakistani and Muslim ever to be elected as member of parliament.

Shabana Mahmood, 39, was first elected in 2010 from Birmingham-Ladywood constituency, which is considered as one of the most deprived areas of the country. She was among the first 3 females of Muslim faith to be elected as members of Parliament and the first female of Kashmiri origin. Her parents came originally from Mirpur. She‘s a barrister and graduated in law from Lincoln College, Oxford. She has served as shadow home affairs minister in 2010, shadow business minister in 2011 and shadow financial secretary to treasury. After 2015 elections, she was appointed shadow chief secretary to the treasury but later stepped down from that role. She had openly opposed Jeremy Corbyn during 2016 leadership contest.

Yasmeen Qureshi, 59, was born in Gujrat and moved to the UK with her family when she was just nine. She was elected MP from Bolton South East in 2010 on Labour Party’s ticket. Along with fellow Labour MPs, Shabana Mahmood of Kashmiri origin and Roshan Ara Ali of Bengali origin, Yasmin was among the first female Muslim members of Parliament.

She’s studied Law at university and is a qualified barrister. She has worked with crown prosecution service and also headed a UN Mission in Kosovo.

Yasmin first stood in elections in 2005 from London’s Brent East constituency but lost to Lib Dem’s Sarah Teather. But subsequently was awarded a ticket to Labour’s safe seat of Bolton South-East in 2010 elections. A seat, which has won for the 4th time in as many elections. In 2016, she was appointed as shadow justice minister. In these elections, she won again by securing 21,516 votes.

Nusrat Ghani was born in Birmingham to parents of Kashmiri origin. Nusrat was the first Muslim female to become member of Parliament on Conservative Party’s ticket in 2015. She completed her school education in Birmingham and done graduation from Birmingham City University.

In 2013 she was selected to represent Wealdan constituency in South East London a Conservative safe seat which she later won in 2015 elections.

She became member of the powerful Home Affairs select committee in 2015 and in 2017 became the parliamentary private secretary at the Home Office.

In 2018 she became assistant whip and minister in department of transport. She was the first MP to take oath in Urdu dressed in traditional Shalwar Kameez after winning 2017 elections. Nusrat became the first female minister of Muslim faith to speak from dispatch box. Nusrat Ghani has now won her third consecutive elections from Wealdan by securing 37,043 votes.

Naz Shah was born in Bradford. She became the first member of Parliament from Bradford West in 2015 by defeating Respect Party’s George Galloway then member of Parliament from Bradford West with a lead of more then 11 thousand votes. Interestingly she wasn’t Labour’s first choice to stand in elections but was endorsed by party’s national executive after the candidate selected to represent the constituency Amina Ali stepped down citing personal reasons.

She successfully defended her seat in 2017 elections by even a bigger margin of victory of 21,902 votes. In these elections, Naz Shah won for the 3rd time in a row from Bradford West. She secured 33,736 votes and with even a bigger lead of 27,109 votes.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, 42, was a practicing doctor before becoming member of Parliament in 2016 from Tooting in a by-election. The seat was left vacant after serving my MP Sadiq Khan was elected as Mayor of London.

Rosena’s mother was a singer of Polish origin while her father was of Pakistan background but her parents separated after a few years of getting married. After finishing her school, she studied medical biochemistry at Brunel University and later studied medicine at Cavendish College, Cambridge. Before she was elected as MP, Rosena served as a local Cllr in Wandsworth council representing Bedford ward in Balham.