Amna Ahmad on her life and why she wants to be a Lib Dem MP

There’s a super interview with Sutton and Cheam Lib Dem candidate Amna Ahmad in The Pool.

So, who are the Lib Dems now, I ask Ahmad when we meet for coffee. She answers by telling me her issues: she is, of course, against a hard Brexit; she campaigns for NHS funding and sits on Norman Lamb’s committee on the subject. She’s against grammar-school funding, but not grammar schools per se: “I want the comprehensives to have a fighting chance.” When I ask how she became a member, she recalls turning 18 the day before the Stop The War demo and identifying with then-party leader Charles Kennedy’s refusal to support war in Iraq.

But perhaps a more interesting question is: who is Amna Ahmad? When first campaigning in Brixton in 2013, she was accused of being an Oxford-educated careerist with a posh voice. And it was this depiction of her that made her decide to talk about her own life. Yes, she went to Oxford and, yes, her voice could be clarified as “posh”, but the real story goes something like this: Ahmad grew up in a violent house in one of London’s poorest boroughs, Lewisham. At 15, she called the police to report her father, who was arrested and taken into custody. She and her younger brother and sister were split up and put into care. Ahmad was in care for just a week, because she was turning 16. “‘You were on time every day for school’ was the only thing my teacher said to me about that week,” she laughs. Her brother and sister were only five and seven at the time, however. “It was heartbreaking. My brother went on hunger strike. There were issues around cultural sensitives. They made him eat bacon.”

An insight into her early life shows her talent and determination in the face of adversity:

She also applied for Oxford and sat A-Levels while dealing with prison visits and a divided family. “It was a really tough time – I was rebelling, rallying against people who didn’t want to me testify, so I was amazed to come out with any A-Levels, let alone get into Oxford.”

You can read the whole thing here.

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7 Comments

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st May '17 - 11:04am

    I agree with Simon Shaw.

    It is however, heartwarming to hear the story of someone who has triumphed over adversity. There are many, many young people like her. It is a sad reflection on our media, that these young people are not more prominent as worthy role models for those who have to struggle against the odds.

    Well done Amna. I wish you continued, well deserved success.

  • Simon Freeman 21st May '17 - 5:06pm

    Like the others I don’t get your position on grammar schools. I’d just oppose them. But I do hope you get elected. Best of luck.

  • Peter Watson 21st May '17 - 6:06pm

    @Simon Freeman “Like the others I don’t get your position on grammar schools.”
    Sadly I think get it.
    It looks like the half-arsed official policy (which seems different from what the Autumn 2016 Conference voted for, but hey ho I don’t know how official Lib Dem policy is established) of opposing new grammar schools because they are bad but also opposing getting rid of existing grammar schools because they are in areas that might vote Lib Dem.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 6:08pm

    Inspirational story, who cares if her position is , on grammar schools, or any issue, nuanced. If she were to say at length what her views are, I am sure we would better relate to them.

    This is just the sort of potential mp we can be rightly delighted to have in our party. In this individual case , a young, dynamic, attractive , personality, with a past that she has utilised to make her have even more to give , here we see a role model.As our stalwart , Lester Holloway showed in the other thread , our candidates and members from diverse ethnic backgrounds , are out there and a credit to our politics and their efforts.

    I regularly listen, to Maajid Nawaz, superb Liberal Democrat member and former parliamentary candidate, whom I have admired for years, now he is a presenter on LBC. He is a remarkable fellow. I like, in the middle of all the negativity , to be inspired by people , always by those my senior, great too when the other way, by those younger than me, he , Maajid ,a decade my junior , Amna Ahmad, more than that !

    We are rooting for her.A fine candidate .A good person. An impressive woman.

  • It would have been nice to have heard more about her opinions on actual issues. I can’t help but feel the interviewer does too much of the talking. Why can’t we hear her views on defence?

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