Labour and Conservative send two Muslim leaders to House of Lords

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Wajid Ali Khan is Mayor of Burnley and former MEP

Nation special report

LONDON: Labour Party has nominated its Pakistan origin British prominent leader Wajid Ali Khan for life peerage. Wajid Ali Khan who born on 15 October 1979 in Burnley, served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the North West England European constituency from 2017 until 2019.

Conservative Party has also nominated a Muslim personality and former MEP Syed Kamall for lordship. Syed Salah Kamall born in London 15 February 1967. He is a Professor of Politics and International Relations at St Mary’s University, Twickenham and the Academic & Research Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a classical liberal think tank in London. He writes on politics, foreign affairs and international trade. Syed Kamall was a Member of the European Parliament for London from 2005-2019.

Nominated Lord and present mayor of Burnley Wajid Ali Khan and his spouse Mayoress Anam Khan

Talking to ‘The Nation’ Wajid Ali Khan said that he is proud of this honour and will serve British community along with Pakistan and Kashmir community. He has done his best for the welfare of all communities in practical politics as council and EP member.

He sat on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Committee, as well as the Arab Peninsula and South Asia delegations. His main policy interests include workers’ rights, youth empowerment and human rights.

In May this year, Wajid Khan was installed as the Mayor of Burnley for the coming year. His wife Anam will act as Mayoress and his brother Zahid Khan as consort.

“We will bring innovation, creativity and modernism to our role as Mayor and Mayoress whilst respecting and appreciating our borough’s traditions and history,” he said and added that his charity for the year will support homelessness charity Shelter as well as raising money for local community and voluntary groups. 

Wajid Khan always feel proud of being a son of a taxi driver and a house-wife. His parents originally hail from Kharian Tehsil of Gujrat District in Pakistan. He lives in Burnley with his wife and two children. Wajid has served as a Labour councillor and Burnley Council cabinet member. Before becoming an MEP, Wajid was a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire for 12 years, and a course leader in community leadership for 11 years.

Conservative nominated Lord Syed Kamall

Prior to this, Wajid Khan worked in the voluntary sector with young offenders, as well as teaching education programmes for homeless young people. The Burnley race riots in 2001 inspired Wajid to develop a number of community cohesion projects, which gained him the Higher Education Active Community Fund (HEACF) Volunteering Award for social and community cohesion in 2004.

Wajid Ali Khan’s work in community development has seen him address the Civil G8 on inclusive education in Moscow, and advised the Russian Ministry of Education and Science on developing youth strategies. He has contributed to European-wide ‘Volunteurope’ conferences in Germany, France, Poland, Bosnia and Italy.

Within the UK, Wajid Khan has developed higher education programmes to increase academic participation amongst women in the south Asian community. Wajid has directed international leadership conferences in Oman, Turkey, Pakistan and the US, and has represented the University of Central Lancashire in collaborative projects with Russian NGOs.

Wajid Khan is an alumnus of both of HRH Prince Charles’ leadership initiatives: The Mosaic international Leadership Programme as well as the Oxford Young Muslim Leadership Programme.

He also serves on the Labour Party National Policy Forum and International Policy Commission, in addition to serving on the North West regional board. Khan was included in Labour’s eight-person shortlist for the 2014 European Parliament Election. He took over the North West England seat in July 2017, replacing Afzal Khan who was elected as a Member of Parliament in the general election. However, lost his seat in the 2019 European Parliament Election.

In new list, Conservative Party has nominated seven members (including Syed Kamall), Labour Party has nominated five members (including Wajid Ali Khan) and four nominations from Crossbench. The total strength of the House of Lords after inclusion these 16 members would increase to over 830 – almost 200 more than the House of Commons.