From Hong Kong shanty town to Liberal Democrat PPC

I was pleased to be adopted recently as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Westminster North. My journey to this point has been a long one. Through a career in business, the police, another party and all the way from Hong Kong, I have been emboldened to join the fight to demand better for our communities and country than this Tory-Labour mess.

I was born in a Hong Kong shanty-town pig shed. Aged 5 I worked in a toy factory before coming to the UK at 10, unable to speak English. Living and working in my parents’ takeaway shop in a deprived part of Portsmouth in the 1970s, I was subjected to open hostilities and racial abuse. However, driven by my desire to integrate and serve this country, and guided by a teacher who supported me in my education, I was able to rise to become the first Chinese Ministry of Defence civil servant, the first Chinese police officer, and now the first Hong Kong Chinese PPC.

During my nearly two decades in the police, I worked in Vice, Drugs, Organised Crime, Murder and riot squads. Despite these serious issues, I remained keenly aware of the police’s role as a service and not a force. I worked to transform the culture and promote community race relations and equal opportunities for all irrespective of race, religion, class, gender or sexual orientation. I did this by helping to found the Black Police Association; I lobbied for LGBT+ police officers’ rights against hostile resistance; and pioneered multi-agency problem-oriented policing and restorative justice.

While I received commendations for my service, and was honoured to be placed on the Chief Constable track while working to address international organised crime, I never lost sense of the importance of our work to protect communities and people. An effective, considerate police service can allow people to live their lives without fear of harm and safeguard the free, fair and open society we liberals value.

After a career of public service, I moved to the private sector, taking up roles including as the Senior Vice President T-Mobile. I also worked to launch Egg – the first internet bank; Trainline.com and VodafoneLive! – the first multi-media smart device which has transformed the way we communicate on the move and how we live our lives today. I saw the innovation, ambition and drive to change peoples’ lives for the better in the business world and how much it can achieve when directed properly. I wanted to continue to make people’s lives better through politics.

I had always been a swing voter and not been involved in politics until I was approached by the Conservative Party in 2009. Attracted by David Cameron’s promise of transforming the Tories into a more modern compassionate party I agreed to stand as Conservative PPC for Holborn and St Pancras in the 2010 general election. However, since 2015 and a majority Conservative government we have seen massive cuts to crucial services like policing, youth services and local council support. Communities in central London that I spent years working to protect and serve are now suffering rising violent crime, alongside poverty and homelessness that should be guarded against by a caring society.

Disgusted by the return of the hard right of the Tory party, its cuts and hard Brexit policy, I resigned and joined the Liberal Democrats.

I can no longer stand by and see this country being dragged down the road of ignorance and intolerance and the long-held British values of fairness equality, and compassion trampled on by an unscrupulous Prime Minister and a right wing Conservative Party. Meanwhile, Labour has failed to provide moral leadership, or speak up for the communities in London that voted to remain, value tolerance and support business and ambition. The next general election will be much more than Brexit: we are fighting for the soul of this great country – a country that now only the Liberal Democrats can stand up for.

My journey to join our movement has been a long one, but I am ready to demand better for Westminster North – a community I served –whenever a general election takes place, and create a greener, more outward-looking, and progressive country.

* Dr George Lee is the Liberal Democrat PPC for Westminster North and a member of Chinese Liberal Democrats.

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8 Comments

  • Dr George Lee has a fantastic record and back story. I sincerely hope it helps to get him elected to Parliament in Westminster North.
    The Conservative have become a nasty hard right party and need to be soundly beaten for a generation at least until they become (relatively) decent.

  • George Lee’s profile at http://www.specialistspeakers.com says the following about him:

    “He is senior advisor to Cambridge China Centre on the Chinese Executive Leadership Programme, where he can be found advising senior mainland executive and government official on a diverse and complex range of issues including issues around the One Belt One Road initiative.”

    In the past he has written that the West needs to criticise China less and try to understand it more. Am I the only person who has concerns about someone with these sorts of links to the Chinese leadership being promoted to a political office in the UK.?

  • Nom de Plume 30th Sep '19 - 5:21pm

    I do not understand how so many, clearly intelligent individuals, bought “David Cameron’s promise of transforming the Tories into a more modern compassionate party”. Even a rudimentary knowledge of that party and its history would show how difficult such a task would be, even if sincerely intended.
    I do hope that Dr George Lee gets elected as MP for Westminster North. He has found the right party for a liberal-minded individual.

  • Nom de Plume 30th Sep '19 - 5:39pm

    @Rob Cannon

    I do not know much about China or its culture. He is originally from Hong Kong. I look forward to hearing his views. Criticism without knowledge is prejudice. The relationship is an important one.

  • @Rob Cannon

    I completely agree, but it’s rather immaterial since there is no chance (in my opinion) of unseating the decent and popular Karen Buck.

    Chukka’s ambitions in Cities and Westminster are far more realistic for a number of factors that just aren’t present in Westminster North.

  • @Nome de Plume

    I think recent events in Hong Kong reveal quite enough to make objective judgements about Mainland China’s governance. You were not following?

    Since Rob Cannon has sourced a problematic opinion attributed to George Lee, that is evidence in itself, so no prejudice here

  • Goorge Lee will be getting my vote – I’d have thought the recent brave stand Hong Kong has taken should illustrate to others that HKG ers follow their own line. That said having lived in HKG myself for over 15 years I also wholeheartedly agree that China needs to be understood better . Meanwhile Westminster
    ( and the U.K. ) desperately needs a broader range of perspective and experience that candidates like George Lee bring .I wish Mr Lee and his campaign well .

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