Dr Zulfiqar Ali’s campaign for Stoke Central gets underway

In the olden days when by-election candidates were selected, there was a press release with lots of biographical information and some lovely quotes from the candidate.

These days, Ed Fordham just tells everyone on Twitter.

I have heard massively good things about Dr Zulfiqar Ali. He’s an NHS consultant who lives in Stoke and fought the seat in 2015.

The Party President was one of the first to congratulate him.

And his campaign got off to a flying start today:

This and Copeland are vitally important for the country. A strong vote for the Liberal Democrats would show Theresa May that her plans for a hard brexit do not have the consent of the people. We are lucky to have two such talented candidates as Zulfiqar in Stoke and Rebecca Hanson in Copeland.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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31 Comments

  • Here’s wishing all the best
    to both candidates.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Jan '17 - 9:26pm

    Congratulations to Dr. Ali and the local party, on their choice.

    An excellent balance of candidates, for these two upcoming, by-elections, in Copeland , with Rebecca Hanson, and , now ,Stoke , with Zufiqar Ali, one , a woman, one , BAME, one in education as a consultant , teacher, one in health, as a consultant, doctor.

    The two areas of professional expertise ,these fine candidates are from , are in many ways the two most important areas in life , as in politics, it shows a very good sense of priorities, and I think because the elections are taking place on the same day , this could be a very good way of connecting the two further ,as a pitch in our promotion of them and our party .

    I shall get onto the campaign folks … and in contact with my fellow creative industry party colleagues …

  • Two impressive local candidates indeed. And together they send a strong message to anyone watching in the wider public (and the media) about who the LibDems are and what we stand for. I suspect that Stoke will get most of the media coverage – partly because of Nuttall and partly because it is easier for the London bubble-dwellers to get to.

  • If Liberal Democrats wish to ignore the Referendum vote, which Tim Farrons statements suggest, then why enter any other democratic vote? Will you as a party accept whoever wins as the winner entitled to carry out their policies, or will you insist on a re-run? If you wish to be a protest party, fine, do that, but please do not stand for elections if you do not want to respect the result.

  • Dave Bell,

    Nobody is “ignoring” the referendum vote. But people have every right to say it was a mistake. (And I write as a EUsceptic Lib Dem.)

  • David Pocock 21st Jan '17 - 10:51pm

    People have a strange idea of democracy if I am suddenly obliged to back a political position I do not agree with.

    I think your argument says more of the new right not understanding democracy Mr bell, not the liberal democrats. As long as I have breath to speak clearly I shall back whatever view I wish, whether that is 48% 52% or even 1%.

  • I’ll ignore Dave Bell’s view that democracy ceased on 23rd June last year, though it certainly suffered a body blow. Stoke will be a real chance to see if UKIP is indeed such a strong voice of the people. I doubt it.

  • Both the up coming by-elections should be interesting, but Stoke Central looks very close with all 4 major parties having a chance. If the campaign doesn’t end up being all about brexit, the main concern of the voters could well be the NHS. Having a NHS Consultant as a candidate could be a good move.

  • Well, David Bell, the reason LDs keep entering democratic votes is because we keep winning them. We have this weird idea that the electorate are allowed to vote in every election, not just one.

    However, do keep on thinking that having won one vote you can now take the electorate for granted for ever. It will serve us well.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Jan '17 - 1:19am

    No Lib Dem should be making help for Stoke Central any more of a priority than Copeland. In both, we will climb from very small bases in 2015, with a powerful message to offer. Teresa May has ditched membership of the Internal Market, and plans to deny both Parliament and the people the right to decide against staying in. The ridiculous UKIP achieved its main aim with the Brexit vote, is now ably represented by the Tories, and should ditch its claim to represent anyone. Labour as Tim has firmly stated has lost the right to be considered a viable opposition now, and can’t put forward any candidate to represent the whole, hopelessly disunited party. So don’t go to Stoke as an easy option, being more central (though not to the Scots) and more town based – come to Cumbria if you can or/and join the 650 Facebook current supporters for Rebecca Hanson: she is aiming to win.

  • Rebecca Hanson 22nd Jan '17 - 6:31am

    Thanks Katharine.

    We’re running at full throttle here – I’ve been on the go for 18-20 hours most days. I got some great training from HQ (I was delighted to find how keen everyone was to learn about our local issues to to tailor the training to that) and I’ve been out meeting key people non-stop and learning in depth about their issues. We’ve struggled with organisation and communication and are delighted that Andy Sanger (agent/campaign manager for Nick Clegg) is now in role so hopefully that’ll all be sorted very soon.

    Watch this space – it’s looking very promising here mainly because we know the issues and have a proven track record on them and the other parties haven’t been active and aren’t credible on key issues and are struggling to find candidates.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd Jan '17 - 7:44am

    Congratulations and best of luck to Zulfiquar Ali in Stoke on Trent Central, and also to Rebecca Hanson in Copeland 🙂 We are very lucky to have two great candidates 🙂 I hope the party will put every possible effort into both campaigns

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd Jan '17 - 8:22am

    Rebecca Hanson, “on the go 18-20 hours most days”! We often forget how much is expected from candidates. Please remember that it is important to look after yourself! I do hope you will allow yourself some time for sleep, and some time off for relaxation 🙂

  • Does he practice private medicine for a fee in the Channel Islands ?

    Dr Zulfiqar Ali – The Medical Specialist Group
    http://www.msg.gg/specialist/dr-zulfiqar-ali-rmbs-usmle-rmcpi-bse-cesr/
    Dr Zulfiqar AliRMBS USMLE RMCPI BSE CESR | GMC Number: 5171673 … General Hospital in Northamptonshire and University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent.

  • Nick Cunningham 22nd Jan '17 - 11:54am

    A don’t understand this argument democracy should stand still because one camp has won a referendum by under 4% in their favour. Democracy does not end with a single vote, because if it did then back in 1975, when a referendum was held, which was won by the remainders at the time with over 70% of the those who voted, it would have put to bed the European argument forever, which it didn’t. Democracy is about having the right to have a particular position and most importantly to have the right to challenge decisions or views. Does democracy stop after a Government is elected, should debate stop after the House of Commons passed a bill. What is so surprising some wish to close down the Brexit debate, why is that, are they unable to defend their position, but then a blank piece of paper does raise some serious obstacles for them. It would be a sad reflection on our Nation if the Brexit decision was somehow off limits and 48% or come to that any percentage of the electorate is deemed unworthy because they happened not to be the majority at any given time.

  • Michael Cole 22nd Jan '17 - 1:45pm

    I agree with Nick !

    Does anyone think for one moment that Farage & Co would have stopped campaigning if the vote had gone the other way ?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jan '17 - 2:25pm

    Catherine

    As ever , well said ! Do visit the site thread you made comments on yesterday morning , see my response !

    Rebecca

    Listen to Catherine , look after yourself, we are digging in for you as a party , you therefore also need to put you first or equal first with the party, like healthcare, best in most things , a holistic approach !

    David

    I looked at the link. Why question if Dr. Ali practices privately on a part time or sometime contract,in Guernsey, he has a strong track record of work in the NHS, and that web site you link to reveals he worked as a volunteer in Pakistan after the earthquake helping with medical skills to save lives !What on earth is there to question, surely an excellent candidate.

    I do hope we are not going to start fussing about professional people working for that odd thing called, a fee ?! I am sure our excellent Rebecca Hanson does not run a consultancy in education as a hobby !

  • Hi there Lorenzo,

    1. It won’t surprise you to know I’m not enthusiastic about the privatisation of the NHS – or of consultants who moonlight in tax havens.

    2. Watch out, there’s a Trident about. Last heard of heading in the Nottingham direction ?
    See the BBC News : Andrew Marr Show, PM under pressure over missile test. Theresa May is urged to say what she knew of a Trident test “misfire” before a crucial vote by MPs. 46 minutes ago

  • To Alain Dekker and others …. if you cannot go in person, do some phonebanking/donate or both 🙂 🙂

  • Michael Cole (above):

    Nigel Farage said on camera during the referendum count, when he thought he’d lost, that if it was a 52-48 result there would have to be a second referendum. Good enough for me!

  • “He’s an NHS consultant who lives in Stoke”

    It’s rather unclear is Dr Zulfiqar Ali a NHS consultant who lives in Stoke or does he work full time in a private hospital in Guernsey?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jan '17 - 8:26pm

    David and Simon

    On the consultants, whether on days not working in the NHS, or after hours , as the consultants are contracted on a self employed basis to the NHS, it is not privatisation if they work for other providers too, as privatisation means either the NHS charging for something once free, or contracting out to profit making , which all consultants are, already, as they do not work for free ! Although Dr. Ali has, as , shown , in the earthquake in Pakistan! Rather than criticise him , we should applaud him !

    On Trident , I hear its heading to Scotland purposely to annoy Nicola , duck David, head down !

    Actually , Simon, with respect, your argument does not quite work on the UK, as they , consultants ,are self employed anyway , who they work for on what day , makes no significant difference in the supply and demand. Really, the thing that marks out us here, is we do not have nearly enough doctors ! Some think the ability of a doctor to work at a private hospital on day whatever,”takes away ” a doctor from a NHS hospital on whatever day he or she apparently “should ” be working in an NHS one. This would only be true if nearly all doctors refused to work more than a day or two in the NHS. Which they do not.

    I can say what takes doctors away from the NHS. To begin with, money. We do not invest anything like most European countries. Thus we have a fraction of the number, of doctors, as with beds in hospitals and anything else related, that we need.

    Then, ideology. Dermatologists at my local hospital, and I know as I am under their care from time to time ,having suffered from skin problems since my youth, refused to work for the new, Circle provider managed contract, and resigned to go elsewhere, leaving the hospital in desperate need of dermatologists, faced with buying them in from the private sector and abroad, for astronomical fees, as sweeteners, before securing regular doctors who would work for Circle ! I was a patient at Circle. Free, timely,appointments, in excellent modern facilities ! They are a company that is co-owned by their employees.

    Money and the lack of it, ideology and too much of it, are the enemies of health care in Britain and America, from two separate sides of the divide, geographically and politically! We need less PFI ,which is privatisation of the benefits , nationalisation of the debts ,and more genuine sharing and pooling of facilities and resources.

  • Hi Lorenzo
    Quick question.
    Just wondered what your view was on providers such as ‘Circle’ running services that QMC (as the major teaching hospital in the region) are not.
    My point being that medical students may not get training in an area of medicine, simply because that service is run by the ‘private’ provider’ rather than the main NHS teaching hospital just across the car park (car park being a very kind term, for those of you who have ever tried to park your vehicle within half mile of Queens Medical Centre 🙂

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Jan '17 - 2:29am

    Simon

    I do get your comment and it explains your point earlier. I was combining the two arguments in a way not clear , gps being self employed, hospital doctors employed, but with time free traditionally and purposely allowed by Bevan himself, in fact allowing a day elsewhere,ie in the private sector, as , then, an incentive to also work in the NHS, and of course they too, when in the private sector , are self employed. If you object to that , it is the norm and if we made them choose between the two, we could lose many who do both now.

    Also, my view is, that there are only so many doctors to go round, and that’s regardless of who is paying them , there are too few! And on charges, yes, you can of course say that, but the effect to the public using the language of privatisation means anything that has money and health , and transaction all in the same sentence, seems to panic us here, we are not America , there are other possibilities for more funding !

    We can keep the NHS model and do so much more with it. I really think rather than an either or approach, we need to unify and diversify , under the NHS umbrella, emphasising not -for -profit, but recognising the profit motive for many professionals is there and we cannot avoid it.

    Legal aid lawyers were always paid as self employed and very well, and if the public got a very good service , it was only with a very good lawyer , not because of it being public or private , just and only if it was good ! Systems are value neutral, they can be value for money, or a waste of money . I think, it is the good , the bad and the ugly , we need to look out for in all sectors! But an integrated, flexible, social market in which the government , ie the NHS, is the effective insurance company , can work well.

    Interesting that Sanders and Obama tried to push for that in the USA, were they call it , single payer , and it was not considered , as it is viewed as too left wing, talk like that here and it is considered too right wing ! The French of course thinks the sort of thing I am referring to , just the norm, which is why nearly every report says they have the best health care in the world !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Jan '17 - 1:21pm

    MikeS

    good to see you on here , well does the comment you post mean your’e from or in Nottingham ? The fact is , I would be keen for students in medicine or anything, to get the very best. If that means the private sector run, but public sector funded service does not do that, why not ? If it is not in their contract , why not ? It must happen. Who delivers it is to be decided. I and many today, are not ideological when it comes to the private sector, I prefer the humanitarian impulse, what is good for people ? Debate it, fine, but we need the best , free , available. If in a society where the private sector is not only good with regard to efficiency but with regard to morality, ie putting patients at the forefront, that’s fine. My rule f thumb is, good values, and good value for money. In that order.

  • Peter Watson 23rd Jan '17 - 1:46pm

    @Robert “Good enough for me!”
    But is it good enough for Tim Farron who said at the time:

    The idea of a second EU referendum, suggested by Farage earlier this week, is not only a pathetic attempt at a comeback by a failing “Leave” campaign, it also ignores the history of these sort of referendums.
    Successive independence referendums for the state of Quebec in Canada popularised the phrase “neverendum,” and eventually the independence movement collapsed. Farage and those supporting Brexit should take note: undermining the validity of a referendum and ignoring the democratic choice of British people will not make you more popular (something other nationalist parties in the country should also understand). Nor will it encourage more people to support your cause in the first instance.
    The UKIP leader regularly accuses the EU of not listening to the democratic will of countries. So maybe, just maybe, he should live up to his own words for once and listen to the choice of the British people.

    (http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/big-question-will-there-be-a-second-eu-referendum)

  • Dr Ali needs to update his Twitter profile. It says on there he still works in Stockport, though other sources (his new employer, and Dr Ali’s own LinkedIn profile) say he left there to go and work in Guernsey.

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