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Politician & Activist

Naz Shah

Naseem Shah is a British Labour Party politician. She was elected at the 2015 general election as Member of Parliament for Bradford West, winning the seat from George Galloway of the Respect Party.

In July 2018, she was appointed to a junior Shadow Ministerial role as Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities, working alongside the Shadow Secretary of State, Dawn Butler.

  • Full name: Naseem Shah
  • Profession: British politician
  • Born: 13 November 1973 (age 46 years), Bradford
  • Office: Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom since 2015
  • Education: University of Bradford
  • Party: Labour Party
  • Spouse: Syed Mazhar Shah (m. 1990–1999)
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About Naz Shah

Naz was born on 13 November 1973 in Bradford, England. Her father left when she was six years old. At age 12, she was sent to Pakistan by her mother, Zoora Shah, to escape her mother’s abusive partner, where she had an arranged marriage.

When she was 20, her mother was convicted of murder, attempted murder, solicitation to murder and forgery in relation to the man who abused her, and served 7 years in prison.

Career

Before being elected as an MP, Shah was the chair of mental health charity, Sharing Voices Bradford, and had previously worked as a carer for disabled people, as an NHS Commissioner and a director for a regional association supporting local councils.

She has said that she voted for George Galloway at the Bradford West by-election in 2012.

Working with the Southall Black Sisters, Shah campaigned for her mother’s release from prison.

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In a secret ballot in February 2015 for selection as the Labour Party candidate for Bradford West, Amina Ali won with 142 votes against Shah’s 13.

However, Ali resigned shortly afterds citing personal reasons and Shah was chosen as the candidate by the Labour Party National Executive.

She won the Bradford West constituency in May 2015 with a majority of 11,420 over George Galloway. When elected, she was one of nine Muslim Labour MPs.

Shah endorsed Yvette Cooper during the Labour leadership contest in 2015.

She was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, in February 2016.

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In April 2016, Shah was reported to have reposted in August 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, a Facebook post with a map from Norman Finkelstein’s website showing Israel superimposed on the United States, with the headline “Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict – relocate Israel into United States”.

She had added the comment that this might “save them some pocket money” (i.e. US funding for Israel).

Finkelstein defended the map as humorous. Shah responded that her views on Israel had moderated, and stepped down as John McDonnell’s PPS.

Jeremy Corbyn condemned her posted comment as “offensive and unacceptable”. She was suspended from the Labour Party that month, pending investigation.

In July, she was reinstated but given a formal warning for bringing the party into disrepute and told to apologise. Shah said she had shown “ignorance”: that the post was antisemitic but she was not.

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At the general election in June 2017, Shah was re-elected with an increased vote share, and nearly doubled her majority to 21,902 votes over the second-placed Conservative Party candidate.

In August 2017, Shah retweeted and liked a tweet which read: “Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of diversity”.

A spokesperson said: “This was a genuine accident eight days ago that was rectified within minutes.” Shah also pointed to her record on challenging abuse.

In April 2018, following Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death, Shah paid tribute by tweeting an image incorporating Mandela’s quote: “Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country.” She later deleted the tweet.

In July 2018, Shah was appointed Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities.

Shah was re-elected as the MP for Bradford West at the 2019 General Election with a majority of 27,019.