Tag Archives: hina bokhari

Hina Bokhari is the new Lib Dem Leader on the London Assembly

Our team has announced that Hina Bokhari AM is the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly. She takes over from Caroline Pidgeon who was Leader for the previous 14 years.

Hina is the first ethnic minority woman to lead any group on the Assembly. She was first elected to the Assembly in the last round of London elections in 2021 (postponed from 2020). She has been a councillor on Merton Council since 2018. Hina taught for 20 years and founded a couple of charities to support underprivileged young people.

We have a quote from her:

It is a privilege to lead the Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly and to be the first ethnic minority woman to lead a group on the Assembly.

I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Caroline Pidgeon who led the Lib Dem Group tirelessly for the last 14 years and who was widely regarded as one of, if not the best scrutineers the Assembly has seen since its establishment.

I passionately believe that at its heart, London is a liberal city with liberal values and one that thrives on its great diversity.

It is with these values I intend to hold the Mayor of London to account on the promises he made during the election to ensure that London continues to thrive as a welcoming global city that is safe and accessible and that the challenges currently facing many Londoners are addressed.

To all the women of all backgrounds across London, I hope I can offer some hope that barriers are being broken and politics is becoming more representative of the society we live in.

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And, finally – we have 2 Lib Dem London Assembly members

In this last round-up of the day, we bring news of the final London result, the 11 list Assembly Members who work alongside the 14 constituency members.

We have always had list members because until our Gareth Roberts won South West London this afternoon nobody other than a Conservative or Labour had won a constituency.

Once the list votes had been counted, the absolutely brilliant news is that Hina Bokhari has been re-elected. The rotten news is that Rob Blackie, our fantastic mayoral candidate who has run such a good campaign and took us to third place in that contest,  missed out on a place. It would have been so good if all three of them had got in. It’s the tough aspect of these list systems. If Gareth hadn’t won the constituency, I’d have been as sad for him as he would not have got in on the list as he was in 4th place. Huge thanks to Rob for putting together such a good campaign with significantly less resource than the other parties.

The new Assembly comprises 11 Labour, 8 Conservatives, 3 Greens, 2 Lib Dems and 1 Reform.

There is still much number crunching to do, but it is way too late at night to start wrestling with spreadsheets.

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Wood burning fireplaces – a hot campaign issue

An unusual campaign is emerging in London over adverts for wood burning stoves. The context is the Mayor of London’s drive against air pollution, with the extension of the ULEZ across the whole of Greater London.

ULEZ = Ultra-Low Emission Zone. The driver of any vehicle which does not meet the ultra-low emission standards has to pay £12.50 per day to drive through the zone. Nationwide about 10% of all vehicles do not meet the standard. In principle, Lib Dems in London support the measures to reduce air pollution although we have many concerns about the implementation – inadequate scrappage schemes and some rather odd boundaries around the edges.

Apparently the use of wood burning fireplaces has increased by 124% between 2011 and 2021 – they are pretty fashionable, after all. I imagine many people who installed such fireplaces were under the misapprehension that they were a green alternative to gas or electricity. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It seems that the main source of PM2.5 (which is recognised as the most harmful of all air pollutants) is domestic wood burning fireplaces.

Hina Bokhari, Member of the London Assembly, has been working on this issue alongside the campaign group Mums for Lungs. She is calling for a public awareness campaign on the dangers of wood burning, and a ban on adverts on the Tube network, like the one in the photo.

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Victory in ULEZ campaign

On the doorstep, and on social media, in the ward where I live there has been one main topic recently – ULEZ. And of course it hugely influenced the by-election result in Uxbridge, which should have been a pushover for Labour. Sadiq Khan’s rollout of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (and a daily charge of £12.50) to the whole of Greater London at the end of this month has been greeted with anger and derision, not to mention conspiracy theories.

This has put Liberal Democrats in a position which is sometimes difficult to articulate in political soundbites. On the one hand we firmly support measures that reduce air pollution and prevent unnecessary deaths. On the other hand we recognise that the implementation of the scheme could cause real hardship to people already angry about the cost of living crisis. But there is some good news at last.

When ULEZ was first introduced in inner London it covered an area with excellent public transport. Few of us in the suburbs would think of driving into the centre anyway because the Congestion Charge already applied. And there was an 18 month period in which residents could prepare for the new charge.

This time the Greater London extension to ULEZ was announced only months before it was due to come into effect, and across an area with far greater reliance on cars, where the tentacles of London’s transport system spread more widely. Now some 90% of cars are already ULEZ complaint but there is a real issue with the remaining 10%, which are largely older vehicles. Those owners most affected are people who are least able to afford to change their cars, especially given that their old ones are going to be virtually unsellable. There have also been heartfelt pleas from sole traders whose livelihoods are dependent on their aging white vans.

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Bokhari and Blackie head London Lib Dem list

Current AM Hina Bokhari will be our top London list candidate in the GLA elections next year. Second on the list is Rob Blackie.

The results were announced in an email to London members from London Regional Chair Ann Glaze this afternoon.

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London Lib Dems prepare for the London elections next year

Every four years Londoners elect the Greater London Authority in the form of the Mayor of London and the 25 members of the London Assembly. As it happens the elections due in 2020 were postponed a year, so when the elections take place in May 2024 the current incumbents will have been in place for just three years.

The main focus is on the election of the Mayor of London, which for the first time will be chosen using First Past the Post. In the past there has been a supplementary vote, so voters could express a second preference. That changed with the Elections Act 2022, most remembered for the introduction of voter ID. But there were some other nuggets buried in the Act, including this regressive move away from the supplementary vote for elections for Mayors and Police Commissioners – itself a rudimentary type of PR – to First Past the Post.

The London Assembly holds the Mayor to account, and its 25 members are selected using the Additional Member system.  London is divided into 14 largish constituencies, each of which elects one member to the London Assembly, using First Past the Post.

The 14 constituency members are then topped up with 11 members from the party lists. Voters select one party list – they have no choice about the candidates on each list or the order in which they appear, which will have been determined by the parties themselves using their own internal selection methods.

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Ramadan Mubarak to all who are observing the month of fasting

The Holy Month of Ramadan is underway, and we would like to wish everyone who is observing it Ramadan Mubarak.

Senior Lib Dems have expressed their good wishes:

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Lib Dems mark Black History Month

Black History Month starts today and this year its theme is “Time for Change: Action not words”

From the Black History Month UK website:

To get to a better tomorrow, we can’t just focus on the past. The past is in the past. We can acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.

This year’s Black History Month in October is more important than ever. It’s not just a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world. It’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.

For those of us looking to be better allies, the message is clear:

Being an ally means moving beyond short-term or performative gestures and taking real, long-term action. In the workplace, in places of education and learning, and in the public sphere, this means having policies in place that achieve real outcomes.  As an individual, it means actually practising what you preach. In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, many organisations and individuals committed to tackling racism.

This was done around the world by taking the time to learn about the black experience and additionally, in the UK, this included learning about the historical legacy of colonialism and slavery. That was an important step forward, but it won’t fundamentally change institutional racism today.A number of recent reports have called out racism across a range of sectors, from international aid and education to healthcare and policing. As a society, we all know there is a problem with institutional racism. Now we need to work together to tackle it.

Stonewall have produced a really good guide on being a good ally to black LGBT+ people.

Lib Dem AM Hina Bokhari set out what Black History Month means to her:

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Leaseholders still at risk of having to pay huge sums for cladding replacement

We don’t often reference the Daily Mail here on LDV. But this week they published a generally supportive article (with photos of both Ed Davey and Hina Bokhari): Campaigners call for more help for cladding-hit flat owners and a proper overhaul of leaseholds after latest vote on Building Safety Bill.

Leaseholders across the country, particularly in cities with high rise blocks of flats, are concerned that they will have to pay for the replacement of dangerous cladding.

The Government insists that leaseholders are protected from the costs of dangerous buildings.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Housing Michael Gove said leaseholders ‘are blameless, and it is morally wrong that they should be the ones asked to pay the price’.

However, recent Government amendments to the Building Safety Bill include some caveats, meaning many leaseholders could still have to pay life-changing sums for the remediation work.

A recent survey by the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign of more than 2,200 properties in buildings over 11 metres suggested that 64 per cent of leaseholders outside of London and 83 per cent of leaseholders in London will not be protected from all costs to fix non-cladding fire safety defects.

The item includes a photo of Ed Davey addressing the rally outside Parliament earlier this week and two further ones of London Assembly member Hina Bokhari with protesters. Hina is quoted at length:

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Hina Bokhari AM writes: Being a Muslim candidate during Ramadan

When I reminded my Lib Dem colleague, Richard Poole, that I was going to be fasting for the next four weeks of the elections, he asked immediately how they should support me and how to show respect to Muslim voters during the campaign. So I thought it would be useful if I shared some useful facts and insight into the month of Ramadan and how it may impact Muslim candidates like me and voters in the next phase of the election campaign.

Firstly, I want to thank Richard for showing an interest. When I was younger, few would ask about my faith. Now I have friends who want to join me in fasting and come over for Iftar, the meal at the end of the fast, at sunset. Lots has changed in people’s perception of Islam, sadly because of some very negative Muslim imagery in the media after the New York September 11th attacks. But from this difficult time also came positive curiosity, a genuine keenness to understand and to learn.

As a Muslim woman in politics, I am proud to talk about my faith and encourage people to learn and participate in our traditions and customs. I’m so proud that during the first lockdown we held the Lib Dem Iftar which included MPs, councillors and members fasting along with other Muslim Lib Dems. It was a great immersive learning experience which I would love to do again.

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Hina Bokhari AM interviewed by The Guardian

Hina Bokhari, Lib Dem London Assembly Member, has been interviewed in The Guardian along with other female Muslim politicians. This is in response to the report that Nusrat Ghani MP was sacked as a minister because of her “Muslimness”.

Hina says:

I had never experienced racism until 9/11: I was walking home when someone shouted: “ go home” not far from my doorstep. After that it got more frequent. During the 2018 World Cup, a drunk man got right in my face saying: “Listen , go the fuck home.” I’ve had problems on the job, too. When I was campaigning I would hear those same phrases about going home. And there would be micro-aggressions such as: “Your name is too difficult” or supposed banter about immigrants taking our jobs. Brexit was a particularly bad time.

Sometimes Islamophobia is a lack of understanding. So, in 2020, I wanted to get people within the Liberal Democrats to experience Ramadan for a day. People – including Layla Moran and Ed Davey – fasted for a day and tweeted throughout. Streams of hatred came back in response. People were asking Ed if he wanted four wives – and saying far worse to Layla. Ed and Layla felt not just the experience of fasting, but the hatred too.

I was shocked that I was the first Muslim woman elected in Merton council – and one of the London assembly’s first Muslim women. Are Muslim women less likely to be elected? Or less likely to put themselves forward? When I talk to Muslim women, there’s a fear of being abused.

People have said in the past I should change my name. But I would never do that. When Michael Fabricant said that Nus Ghani wasn’t obviously Muslim, I tweeted: “Yeah – coz all us Muslims look the same!” I think what he meant was that she was the kind of Muslim that didn’t make him feel uncomfortable.

In the London assembly we’ve got a very good understanding of Islamophobia. It helps having a Muslim mayor. But there is still inconsistency. Whether you are Jewish, Muslim or from any minority group, you should be heard, respected and, if there’s an incident, action must be taken. Our struggle is a shared struggle.

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Hina Bokhari writes: My first 100 days as a London Assembly member

100 days ago I had the honour of being elected as a Liberal Democrat London-Wide Assembly Member. We doubled our representation at City Hall and became a group again, with Caroline Pidgeon as the leader. 

I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of hundreds of members and activists, the fantastic team of GLA candidates, team members led by Anood Al-Samerai and the inspiring Mayoral candidates Luisa Porritt. Thank you to all who achieved this result. 

Now that there’s two of us in the London Assembly we can double our efforts, double our reach and even double our votes. 

That’s why it’s been important for me to get noticed and that’s not by just wearing lots of yellow and orange!

I didn’t plan to go semi-viral thanks to a photo of me sitting next to the former Tory Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey at our first public meeting. We were discussing how cold it was in the chamber but the Labour group spread rumours of us hatching a coalition plot – there was none. Labour had a strop over chairs of committees, they then refused to chair any. In any case, as a result, Caroline is chairing Transport and Oversight and is a member of the Police Committee, I am Deputy Chair of Economy and a member of the Environment and Fire Committees. My job is to scrutinise the Mayor and to raise our London Liberal Democrats’ campaigns. 

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On Hina and ice-cream

Last Thursday, LibDem London Assembly member Hina Bokhari invited me to spend the day with her. My goals were to get to know Hina better, learn what the London Assembly does, and create a video for my YouTube channel we could share with the world.

At one point Hina says “there’s nothing particularly remarkable about me.” I think this video shows pretty clearly that this isn’t true – she is actually an extremely remarkable person. As LibDems, we should all be very proud she represents our party in the London Assembly.

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Recent Comments

  • David Langshaw
    Just to add to the Singapore imagery, it's worth remembering that the Japanese advanced all the way down the Malayan peninsula on bicycles....
  • Geoff Reid
    In the midst of the alarms and excursions of an election campaign - and the necessary simplifications - it is very refreshing to be reminded of the ground on wh...
  • Bill Le Breton
    Fantastic piece. Thank you....
  • Neil Hickman
    Sadly, Martin, I fear you’re right. Labour apparatchiks would far rather a monopoly Labour government than one dependent on the Lib Dem’s (and kept honest ...
  • Martin Gray
    If Labour - as predicted win by a landslide I can't see a change in the voting system anytime soon. PCC and local elections have a poor turnout - no amount of a...