I am truly honoured that members of the Noel Park Branch Labour Party selected me to be their candidate at the 2018 local elections in Haringey. Below is the speech I gave to the members at the selection meeting.
Good evening comrades!
Thank you very much for your support this evening. I would like to say a few words to introduce myself, pay tribute to Councillors Alan Strickland and Stephen Mann and talk to you about my vision and priorities for Noel Park.
I moved to Haringey with my family from Bangladesh at the age of 12. Settling down in London was not easy for me. I did not speak any English. I faced bullying at school. But, I worked extremely hard and turned things around quickly. I left school with the best set of grades in my school. I went onto read law at university.
After graduation, I came back to work in Haringey as a community organiser for four years. I then worked in the Cabinet Office as a legal adviser before training to become a solicitor at a leading international law firm called Herbert Smith Freehills. I continue to practise as a lawyer in the City.
I consider Noel Park to be my home. As a family, we lived in temporary accommodation in different parts of Haringey until the Council allocated my family a permanent house on Morley Avenue on the Noel Park estate. My parents still live there. If you speak to any Asian family, they will tell you that your parents’ home is your home.
I now live with my wife and two children in Tottenham only because it is cheaper down there. My wife is a doctor at North Middlesex Hospital.
I cut my teeth in politics in Noel Park when I was chair of the Noel Park Branch Labour Party between 2010 and 2012. I campaigned in the 2010 local election to elect Alan Strickland as a Councillor for the first time. I would like to pay tribute to him because he has served the residents to the best of his ability.
Although I have not known Stephen Mann for that long, he did come to the open day of my local mosque in September in his capacity as the current mayor of Haringey. I found him to be a rather affable and a dedicated public servant.
Both Alan and Stephen served the residents of Noel Park and the borough according to their sincerely held beliefs and ideals.
However, political choices have to be made. And as I have made clear to you in my campaign literature and conversations at the doorstep, we have a different vision for Haringey.
The most important issue locally is the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). I have my doubts about this scheme. And as Jeremy Corbyn said at the annual conference which I attended in September,
“Regeneration is a much abused word. Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.”
The HDV has all the hallmarks of a project that will lead to social cleansing and enforce gentrification. People like me and Emina who have grown up in council housing would find their homes demolished as they are displaced and moved out of the borough. A similar thing happened with Lendlease in Southwark on the Heygate estate. 1200 families were moved out and only 82 were allowed to come back. This is devastating. And this is the same Lendlease which the Council is going into joint venture partnership with for the HDV.
I do not want to see social cleansing in Haringey. Both our local MPs are against the HDV. Both Constituency Labour Parties are against it. There was a judicial review hearing in the High Court last month challenging the HDV. People have taken to the streets protesting against the HDV. I have never seen anything like it in all the years that I have lived in Haringey. I pledge to stop the HDV if I am elected in May.
I will be fighting to increase council housing stock as I believe it is the only way to tackle the housing crisis. I also support full binding ballot rights for residents in ongoing and future regeneration projects.
I am opposed to the Wood Green Area Action where it involves demolition of homes and businesses.
I also make the following pledges to you:
Support Jeremy Corbyn: I will support the national leadership both publicly and privately along with Labour’s manifesto.
Regular engagement with members: I will be accountable to members, provide regular reports and will gauge their views and opinions through regular attendance at branch meetings.
Build strong community relations: I will develop effective relationships ensuring that disadvantaged sections of the community are not neglected such as what happened at Grenfell.
Environment: I will fight for effective measures to tackle fly tipping and reduce pollution as poor air quality kills an average of 10,000 people in London every year.
Protecting services: More government cuts are planned for next year, but I will be committed to protecting services and jobs that affect local residents.
Thank you very much indeed for your support and I look forward to working with you all to win this ward for Labour in May 2018.