MP Tulip Siddiq: I was told to stand in Bradford instead of a Jewish area

'Be sisterly' plea

Sunday, 26th September 2021 — By Richard Osley in Brighton


Tulip Siddiq speaking at a meeting held at the Holiday Inn in Brighton last night (Saturday)

HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq says she was advised to run for parliament in Bradford rather than an area of north London with a large number of Jewish residents when she decided to try and get elected to the House of Commons.

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference here in Brighton, she revealed hurdles that she said were put in her a way – suggesting that some had of them had been linked to race and gender.

“Glenda Jackson decided that she was going to stand down as MP,” said Ms Siddiq, who was first elected as an MP in 2015. “I wanted to put myself forward for that position and it was very interesting bearing in mind I went to school in that constituency, my parents got married in that constituency in the 1970s… but suddenly there were lots of reasons why I shouldn’t stand.”

She added: “So people from the Labour Party – from the upper echelons of the Labour Party – kept saying to me: are you sure you want to stand here? I told them: Yes, I’m sure. I went to school there. I volunteered in that local Oxfam. That’s where I grew up. That’s where my friends got married.”

Ms Siddiq said the response came back “are you sure, darling, you don’t want to stand in Bradford?”, telling the meeting organised by the Labour Women’s Network: “No offence and nothing against Bradford but I’ve never been there in my life. I am from Hampstead and Kilburn – and I was going to stand there.

“There were various times – and I don’t like repeating this but there were various times when people would say to me: ‘The thing is there’s a big Jewish community in Hampstead and they may not…’ And I said: ‘what? vote for me? Don’t underestimate the Jewish community’. I grew up in the heart of the Jewish community. They vote for people who work for them. They don’t vote based on last names.

“And people went quiet but that was the problem – there was this assumption that I shouldn’t stand in Hampstead and Kilburn. But why not? This is what I’m trying to say to you. There will always be people who say to you ‘darling this isn’t the right time or this isn’t the right seat’. Don’t listen to those people because you always have people like that along the way and you mustn’t listen. So anyway, I did decide to stand.”

Explaining how she fought the selection, she told the meeting last night (Saturday) she had asked for help from family and friends, and saved up money for a campaign fund by working in the private sector for a year.

“The other thing I realised is that, if you’re on an all woman shortlist –and I was very proud to be on an all woman shortlisted with very strong women – people do try and pitch you against each other. And I would say, please be sisterly.”

At the final selection meeting, Ms Siddiq was up against former Camden councillor Sally Gimson and Sophie Linden, who is now one of Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayors.

“Chances are you are going to see those people over and over again in your political career and you don’t want to make a massive enemy out of them,” she said.

“So even if you’re in competition, think about the fact that they are woomen who worked hard to get where they are as as well – and you’ll likely to see them in Parliament or you’ll see them again along the way.”


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