‘I came from Bangladesh, the Government lost my passport and now I’m a Liberal Democrat’

The Plymouth Herald reports:

Voters in next month’s council election will be confronted by a host of new names – but none with a more fascinating story than the Liberal Democrat candidate for Efford.

Rafiqul Haque grew up in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and came to the UK on a family holiday aged 14.

While they were here their home country elected a new government and their citizenship was revoked, rendering them effectively stateless.

Their application for asylum was rejected and they packed their bags to leave – but Rafiqul says the authorities lost their passports.

“We were scheduled to travel back, but while we were waiting to board our flight the Home Office failed to produce any valid travel documents to the airline, who in turn refused our travel,” he says.

The family were sent to Manchester as “failed asylum seekers” and granted leave to remain three years later.

“I still don’t know the reason,” Rafiqul says.

The boy who left South Asia never to return considers himself “both an immigrant and a refugee”.

“We were not forced to leave our country but forced to return,” he says.

“We did not chose to settle to UK – we were given no choice.”

Rafiqul came to Plymouth aged 20 to study for a degree in civil and coastal engineering.

Now 28, he works as a graduate civil engineer for a city consulting firm and volunteers as a community youth worker.

On May 5 his name will be on ballot paper in Efford and Lipson as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Plymouth City Council.

He says he decided to run in order to give something back to the city he now calls home.

“I am honest, hard working and professional – but more importantly not alone,” he says.

“I am part of a party which works together for people and is always willing to give a helping hand.

We are firmly committed to a system which reduces red tape and gives power to local public servants, communities and individuals.

We don’t want someone living hundreds of miles away telling us how our homes should be looked after.

Our current councillors seem to be in deliberate denial of Plymouth’s economic and social needs.

Plymouth is our home and we have lot of issues to tackle head-on.”

You can read the full wonderful story here.

* News Meerkat - keeping a look-out for Liberal Democrat news. Meerkat photo by Paul Walter

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  • Richard Underhill 19th Apr '16 - 12:12pm

    Apparent claim as refugee sur place, no mention of using the right of appeal against refusal of asylum (assuming the 1993 Act was in force).
    Dates matter in respect of the UN Statelessness Convention, withdrawn by Labour.
    Passports should be photocopied, but if the withdrawal is known, such as in the asylum claim, there would be no point in giving the airline documents which would be refused on arrival and causing immediate return.
    There was a concession for long stay, later included in the Immigration Rules (secondary legislation).

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Apr '16 - 6:17pm

    This is a terrific story .It has everything to wet the Liberal appetite ! Big government , tyranny and incompetence , with and individual human interest story and concern for community !

    What a marvellous thing to have Rafiqul in our midst .And what a fine motive for his involvement !

  • “We are firmly committed to a system which reduces red tape and gives power to local public servants, communities and individuals.”

    That may be true in Plymouth, but up in Stockport the Lib Dems who run the council have nothing better to do than ban traders from handing out St George’s Day roses to shoppers in the market hall…


  • Sue Sutherland 20th Apr '16 - 2:19pm

    Having read the article it seems it was the officers who banned the red roses because we are in the official election expenses period. I’m sure the Labour Party would have been happy to fork out for the roses which are definitely linked to them. If the Council owns the market things might have got a little tricky. I expect it was the returning officer who decided a bit of disgruntlement from the traders was better than some sort of legal challenge.

  • Well said Sue.

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