Tag Archives: amna ahmad

Let our actions do the talking on diversity

This election is all up in the air with just over a week to go and the key message going out to Lib Dems everywhere is target, target, target. I agree 100% with one caveat.

When I wake up (or perhaps more realistically; go to sleep) on 9th June I would like us to have more MPs. Whilst the number of likely gains is small in number, each one will be a massive boost to the party and the hard-won result of hours and hours of volunteers delivering, canvassing and promoting those candidates.

My one caveat however, is that I would be very disappointed if our parliamentary party was not more diverse. I know that hundreds of activists have been supporting many of our fantastic women standing for parliament in held and previously held seats; from Sarah Olney to Jo Swinson; Tessa Munt to Christine Jardine there has been a clear awareness of the need to ensure the Liberal Democrat MPs in this next parliament aren’t all men.

However, another element of diversity the party does not seem to be following through on, as strongly, is ensuring the ethnic diversity of our MPs. We have a very strong chance to elect one such MP in Amna Ahmad, the incredible candidate for Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park and who I have been fortunate enough to be campaigning for over the past four days. 

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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.”

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Amna Ahmad selected to fight Sutton and Cheam

Selections for a potential snap general election continue. Amna Ahmad has been selected to fight Sutton and Cheam, the seat held until the 2015 general election by former health and social care minister Paul Burstow.

She announced the news in a tweet:

You can find out more about Amna and what makes her tick in an interview she gave to the Croydon Citizen when standing for the GLA for Sutton and Croydon this year:

I grew up in south London, but I was born in Pakistan, moving to London when I was less than a year old. When I was growing up, there was domestic violence in my home, and I spent some time in foster care. I spent a lot of time dealing with the authorities at a young age and realised that it can be difficult to speak up and be heard. These experiences have given me the drive to speak up for others wherever I can. That’s why I got involved in politics, and I joined the Liberal Democrats because I believed that going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision. The Liberal Democrats were the only party to wholeheartedly campaign against that war.

I believe in community politics and local decision making, which is why I am a Liberal Democrat…

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