Rushanara Ali is our first British Member of Parliament of Bangladeshi heritage and she called in to Oldham on the way home from the Labour Party Conference this week for a visit organised by the Coldhurst Labour Party.
Rushanara hails from a part of Bangladesh familiar to many here – Biswanath from where many of our local readers come. We followed her progress during the General election this year and her success in Bethnal Green and Bow is something we can all be proud of: Bangladeshis, Women, and Brits in General. She ousted the Respect party in that constituency and won an 11,000 Majority.
Naturally she received a very warm welcome from the Westwood audience and Rushanara told us of her association with Oldham. Rushanara hails from Biswanath an area that many of our local readers are from and has visited the town several times before for very different reasons. That was due to the riots of 2001. At that time she was working at the Home Office and so became quite familiar with the area and recalled meeting our own Muz Khan during those visits. Rushanara commented on how well the community had responded since then and that they should be proud that racism and extremism had been seen off and should no longer have any part in the North West.
Fresh from the Conference and the Leader’s speech she also emphasised the importance of people getting involved in politics, particularly young people and the importance of introducing the “New Generation” into politics and its role in the Labour Party.
Local Councillors presented Rushanara with flowers and glass plaques to as a momento of the occasion.
The event itself was held in the Sports Hall at the Millennium Centre in Featherstall Road, Oldham and the meeting was unexpected joined by a basketball team who were using the other half of the hall for practise. This surprise was taken handled gracefully by Rushanara as she continued her presentation to the assembled Councillors and Labour Members aided by the halls PA system.
A class act in all.