|Shadow Minister for Further Education|
8 October 2013 – 26 September 2014
|Preceded by||Tristram Hunt|
|Succeeded by||Yvonne Fovargue|
|Shadow Minister for International Development|
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2013
|Preceded by||Mark Lazarowicz|
|Succeeded by||Alison McGovern|
|Member of Parliament|
for Bethnal Green and Bow
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||George Galloway|
|Born||14 March 1975|
Bishwanath, Sylhet, Bangladesh
|Alma mater||St. John’s College, University of Oxford|
Rushanara Ali MP (Bengali: রুশনারা আলী; born 14 March 1975) is a British Labour Party politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bethnal Green and Bow since 2010. Ali was the first British Bangladeshi elected to serve in the British Parliament.
She served as a Shadow Minister for International Development from 2010 to 2013, and the Shadow Minister for Further Education from 2013 to 2014. In September 2014, Ali resigned from the opposition front bench to abstain on a motion permitting military action in Iraq.
Ali was born in Bishwanath, Sylhet, Bangladesh. With her family, Ali emigrated to the East End of London at the age of seven, where she attended Mulberry School for Girls and Tower Hamlets College. She grew up in Tower Hamlets where her father was a manual labourer. The first in her family to go to university, Ali studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St John's College, Oxford.
Ali began her career as a research assistant to Michael Young, working on a project which paved the way for the establishment of Tower Hamlets Summer University, offering independent learning programmes for young people aged 11–25. She helped to develop "Language Line", a national telephone interpreting service in over 100 languages. Between 1997 and 1999 she was parliamentary assistant to Oona King, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
Ali worked on human rights issues at the Foreign Office from 2000 to 2001. Prior to this, she was a research fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) focussing on anti-discrimination issues from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2005, she worked in the community cohesion unit at the Communities Directorate of the Home Office, leading a work programme to mobilise local and national agencies in the aftermath of the 2001 riots in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham, to prevent further conflict and unrest, challenging central Government to provide appropriate support to these areas.
Previously, Ali worked as Associate Director of the Young Foundation in Bethnal Green, a thinktank focused on social innovation. She has also served as Chair of Tower Hamlets Summer University; a commissioner on the London Child Poverty Commission; board member of Tower Hamlets College; Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation; and member of the Tate Britain Council.
Ali has published articles on a variety of political issues in numerous national and local media including The Guardian, Prospect magazine and Progress magazine. Ali has also appeared on Question Time Extra, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and Thinking Allowed.
In March 2009, Ali was listed by The Guardian as one of the most powerful Muslim women in Britain.
In April 2007, Ali was chosen as the Labour Party's prospective Parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow. In May 2010, she was elected as a Member of Parliament with a majority of 11,574 votes. She is the first person of Bangladeshi origin to have been elected to the House of Commons, and along with Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi, became one of the United Kingdom's first female Muslim MPs.
In February 2013, Ali voted in favour of the Same Sex Marriage Bill. This drew support from pro-LGBT activists such as Peter Tatchell, but condemnation from religious figures such as the Imams of mosques in Tooting and Bradford. She would later defend a constituent who alleged he was a victim of homophobic hate crime after his neighbours sang songs at him with the words "queer", "fairy" and "fag", calling for the case to be reconsidered in a letter to the Crown Prosecution Service.
In April 2013, Ali was appointed a Governor of the UK government funded Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Ali served as Shadow Minister of State for International Development from October 2010 to October 2013. In the October 2013 Labour frontbench reshuffle, Ali was appointed Shadow Minister of State for Education.
On 26 September 2014, she resigned from the Shadow Education team to abstain on the Coalition government's House of Commons motion permitting military action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq. In a letter to the leader of the party Ed Miliband, she wrote "I appreciate the sincerity of members of parliament from all sides of the House who today support military action against ISIL. I know that British Muslims stand united in the total condemnation of the murders that ISIL have committed. However, there is a genuine belief in Muslim and non-Muslim communities that military action will only create further bloodshed and further pain for the people of Iraq."
Ali also told Miliband that she remained totally committed to his leadership and was looking forward to his becoming the prime minister in next eight months' time. In his return letter to Ali, Miliband praised her as 'someone with great ability and talent'. Regretting her departure from the frontbench team, the Labour leader added that he accepted the resignation with due respect to her decision.
Ali retained her seat at the 2015 general election, doubling her majority to 24,317 and earning a 61% share of the vote. In June 2015, she was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election.
During the 2010-2015 parliament, Ali claimed a total of £674,982 in expenses.
In April 2016, British Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Ali as the Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Bangladesh, as part of cross-party trade envoy network. She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 leadership Election, calling on Corbyn to "do the decent thing" and quit as Labour leader.
Ali campaigned to remain in the European Union in the 2016 membership referendum and in 2017 voted against the triggering of Article 50.
In June 2017, in the general election, Ali retained her seat with an increased majority of 35,393.
In March 2018, Ali received a suspicious package containing an anti-Islamic letter and sticky liquid. The substance was later found to be harmless. Similar packages were received by fellow Labour MPs Mohammad Yasin, Rupa Huq and Afzal Khan.
In October 2018, Ali signed the 'MPs not border guards' pledge, committing to not report constituents to the Home Office for immigration enforcement.
As of 2019, Ali is part of the executive committee of the British-American Project. In December 2019, in the general election, Ali retained her seat with an increased majority of 37,524.
In early 2020, Ali supported Keir Starmer in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.
In March 2020, Ali was one of 76 Labour MPs to urge that the government grant recourse to public funds for all migrants in the UK regardless of their legal status.
In March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, she defended the closure of Victoria Park in her constituency.
In March 2021, a 42-year-old man was sentenced after orchestrating an 18-month hate campaign against Ali which included death threats.
- ^ "UK gets its first Bengali MP". Bangladesh: Bdnews24.com. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- ^ "Rushanara Ali". Alumni Spotlight. St John's College, Oxford. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
- ^ "About Me". Rushanara Ali MP. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
- ^ Karim, Mohammed Abdul; Karim, Shahadoth (July 2008). British Bangladeshi Who's Who. British Bangla Media Group. p. 45.
- ^ "Rushanara Ali". London Child Poverty Commission. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ Rushanara, Ali (20 February 2008). "Let power reflect the people". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ Rushanara, Ali (March 2006). "The Angry East End". Prospect. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ Rushanara, Ali (July 2006). "One year later". Prospect. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ Rushanara, Ali (July 2006). "Articles by Rushanara Ali MP". Progress. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- ^ "Are more young women happy to vote Conservative?'". BBC Radio 4. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ "Laurie Taylor discusses the latest social science research". BBC Radio 4. 25 June 2008. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- ^ "Muslim Women Power List". The Guardian. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
- ^ Cooke, Phoebe (7 May 2010). "Rushanara Ali triumphs in an "historical moment" for Bethnal Green and Bow". London: East London Advertiser. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- ^ Cooke, Phoebe (10 May 2010). "Rushanara Ali becomes first Bangladeshi MP". This is London. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- ^ Adetunji, Jo; Tran, Mark (7 May 2010). "General election 2010: first female Muslim MPs elected". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- ^ "BBC News – Election 2010 – Constituency – Bethnal Green & Bow". BBC News. 6 May 2017. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- ^ a b "Peter Tatchell praises Muslim MPs for supporting equal marriage and blasts anti-gay fatwas". PinkNews. 18 February 2013.
- ^ "London: Anti-gay marriage public meeting at Tooting Mosque in response to Muslim MPs support for equal marriage". PinkNews. 8 March 2013.
- ^ "Court rules that song labelling gay men 'fairy' and 'fag' is not homophobic". PinkNews. 24 August 2017.
- ^ "Governors". Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- ^ "Parliamentary career for Rushanara Ali - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament". members.parliament.uk. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- ^ "Confirmed: Labour's new frontbench team in full". LabourList. 8 October 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019.
- ^ "BBC News – MPs support UK air strikes against IS in Iraq". BBC News. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- ^ "As it happened: Commons debate on Iraq airstrikes". The Times. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- ^ "Rushanara Ali resigns as shadow education minister over vote on Iraq military action". Bangladesh: Bdnews24.com. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- ^ "Bethnal Green & Bow". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
- ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- ^ Youle, Emma (30 October 2015). "£1.3million expense bill for Tower Hamlets MPs: What do they spend and why?". East London Advertiser.
- ^ "UK prime minister appoints Rushanara Ali MP as trade envoy for Bangladesh". Bangladesh: Bdnews24.com. 15 April 2016. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- ^ "UK's trade envoy appointment shows the way". Dhaka Tribune. Dhaka. 17 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 June 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- ^ "Rushanara selected UK trade envoy for Bangladesh". Prothom Alo. Bangladesh. 15 April 2016. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- ^ "Rushanara Ali made British trade envoy for Bangladesh". Bangladesh: Newsnextbd.com. 15 April 2016. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
- ^ "London MPtells Jeremy Corbyn: Do the decent thing and quit". Evening Standard. 29 June 2016.
- ^ Bush, Stephen (8 February 2017). "House of Commons votes to trigger Article 50 by 494 to 122: the full list of Labour rebels". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
- ^ "Ealing Central & Acton Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
- ^ De Peyer, Robin (9 June 2017). "Bethnal Green and Bow election results: Labour's Rushanara Ali wins". London Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
- ^ Cooke, Phoebe (9 June 2017). "Election 2017: Labour hold in Tower Hamlets as Conservatives lose majority". East London Advertiser. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
- ^ Brooke, Mike (14 March 2018). "Suspect package sent to Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali and three other Muslim MPs". London: East London Advertiser. Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- ^ "Third MP gets Islamophobic letter". BBC News. 13 March 2018. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- ^ Elgot, Jessica (13 March 2018). "Four Muslim MPs receive suspicious packages at Westminster". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- ^ "MPs not border guards - pledge signatories". Global Justice Now. 12 June 2018.
- ^ "Meet the UK team - Executive Committee". British-American Project. Archived from the original on 9 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- ^ Rodgers, Sienna. "76 Labour MPs urge pause on 'no recourse to public funds' migrant status". LabourList.
- ^ Boyle, Cash (27 March 2020). "Victoria Park closure provokes huge criticism from Tower Hamlets residents". East London Advertiser.
- ^ "Rushanara Ali: 'End of distressing period' for MP after 'stream of abuse'". BBC News. 11 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
- 1975 births
- Living people
- Alumni of St John's College, Oxford
- Alumni of Tower Hamlets College
- Bangladeshi emigrants to England
- British people of Bangladeshi descent
- Bangladeshi Muslims
- British Muslims
- British politicians of Bangladeshi descent
- Female members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English constituencies
- Labour Party (UK) MPs for English constituencies
- 21st-century British women politicians
- Naturalised citizens of the United Kingdom
- People associated with the Tate galleries
- People educated at Mulberry School for Girls
- People from Bishwanath Upazila
- People from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
- The Guardian people
- UK MPs 2010–2015
- UK MPs 2015–2017
- UK MPs 2017–2019
- UK MPs 2019–present
- 21st-century English women
- 21st-century English people
- 21st-century Bangladeshi women politicians