PPC Profile: Maryam Khan

MaryamFull Name: Maryam Khan

Age: 27

From: Manchester

PPC for: Bury North

Facebook: Maryam Khan for Bury North

Twitter: @Maryam4BuryNth

Selection Result: Straight selection after 8 single nominations, together with picking up all the Trade Union nominations. Can’t ask for anything more.

Member of the Labour Party since: 1997

I am from a working class area of North Manchester and a solicitor by profession. I have completed the LGA’s Next Generation Leadership Course. I joined the Labour Party because of its values of social justice and equality. I won my council seat against the national trend in May 2006, becoming the youngest Councillor in Manchester, with a 19% swing to Labour from a sitting Liberal Democrat Councillor.

As a Councillor I have served on a number of committees: Children & Young people, Citizenship & Inclusion, and Finance and Resources. I was the Lead Member for Race and Equality, working towards community cohesion. I have also served on the National Ethnic Minority Task force.

I was inspired to go into politics because:
I was inspired to go into politics by my father, who is a Labour Party activist. I saw through his role as a Councillor, all the good work he was doing in terms of community cohesion, regeneration, and helping people with issues that affect them day to day. I too wanted to make a difference to people’s lives in a positive way.

I recall sitting in one ward meeting and looking round to notice there was no other young person and very few women. Even now both these groups are under-represented, but thanks to the work that Labour has done in encouraging these groups to come into politics, it is becoming far more representative.

As a self motivated person I am able to work on my own initiative, but I believe that we achieve more through our common endeavour than we do alone. I have also seen the results of team work in the ward that I represent, turning a ward with three Liberal Democrat councillors into a ward with three Labour councillors in the last few years.

When the seat in Bury North came up and I was successfully selected, I recognised that I could use this opportunity to represent the town that I went to school in and have many ties to. I gave up my job as a solicitor to concentrate on the constituency, as I feel passionately about making a difference and ensuring the people of Bury North receive the attention they deserve. I also took the decision to move into the constituency. I am now working hard to meet as many people as possible, together with as many organisations that are working hard for the people of Bury North.

My main policy interests are:
Education – I feel that the opportunity of a quality education should be available to all children, not only those who attend private school. I feel strongly that all non fee-paying educational establishments should have the same standard of education, help and support as fee paying schools do; this is the only way that each child will have an equal start in life, which is only fair.

Crime – Since 1997, crime in general has fallen by around 40% and a person is now less likely to be a victim of crime than at any other time during the last 25 years. The police force is stronger and there are now more than 14,000 more officers than in 1997, helped by almost 16,000 Police Community Support Officers. It is crucial that the government try and control the increasing knife and gun crime culture as quickly as possible. It cannot be the case where for some children in some communities it is the norm to carry a knife. Although the government is taking the tough and necessary measures to combat crime and anti-social behaviour there is still a great deal more work to do. As a society it is our duty to ensure that every child in Great Britain is given the best opportunity in life.

Health Care – The NHS was founded by Labour and it is something that as a party we do not mention enough but should be proud of. After the Tories were in government the NHS was brought to its knees through their neglect and underinvestment. Since 1997, the NHS is providing more services, staff and better delivery and treatment. The NHS is available to those that need it whenever it is needed. In respect of the NHS, one of the key achievements is in relation to access to treatment for those with cancer. Over 99% of patients who are suspected to have cancer are seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred by their GP, and over 99% of these patients begin their treatment within a month of diagnosis. The Tories would not keep this guarantee and the NHS would be taken back to the position it was in when the Tories were last in power, something we cannot allow to happen.

Three things I think should be in the next Labour manifesto are:
1 – Power should be devolved to the grassoots
Power should be in the hands of the many, not the few. The current expenses scandal has meant that people’s faith and trust in politicians is at an all time low. We need electoral reforms including in the voting system, making voting easier and more attractive including by using technology to give people more choice in the way they exercise their right to vote. We need to abolish the current House of Lords; there is no place in a modern democratic system for an unelected Parliament. I am a fervent believer that there is the need to consider reducing the voting age to 16. At 16 people are allowed to do so many things including giving their life for the country, and yet are not allowed to take part in the democratic process. The reduction of the voting age would also encourage more young people to get involved in the democratic process and I welcome the introduction of school councils, youth councils and the Youth Parliament.

2 – Environmental Challenge
The world is on trust to us for our future generations. We have seen the effects of climate change, which will be disastrous for humanity if not properly addressed. Coupled with this is the increase in the world’s population. We need to have ambitious plans that will see the UK aiming to become a world leader in tackling climate change and an international market leader in ecology technology. This would begin to make politics genuinely interesting again. We have the potential to create thousands of new jobs as the green economy is developed in Britain.

3 – Education fit for purpose
It is young lives that count, not numbers. Since Labour came into power, there has been huge investment in improving schools, buildings, equipment, teachers and attainments. We have seen marked improvements, but in the world tables we have slipped down. We have to have a bold vision for the future of our schools. We need to carry on accelerating our efforts to meet education targets, but the focus must be on improving children’s lives for the long term. We have to ensure that children leaving the schools have the necessary skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Parents should feel assured that their child is not going to trail behind others and if needed, a personal tutor will be available to provide one-to-one catch up tuition for children who need it. The plans to give parents a right to an education that is individually tailored for their child, and to back head teachers to enforce good behaviour in every classroom, are very welcome. These guaranteed rights can only go hand-in-hand with responsibilities. Therefore there is the need to strengthen home school agreements, so all pupils and their families clearly understand their school’s rules and their responsibilities, and sign up to the rules when they choose schools. The Tories will cut schools funding. They offer only a gamble – not a guarantee for our children. This is a gamble that nobody should be prepared to take.

I think people should vote for me because:
I am committed to combating poverty, prejudice and inequality to help local people achieve a more democratic and fairer society. I will work hard to make Bury North a place people are even more proud of, and help bring better education, health, investment, regeneration and good jobs for local people. I believe that power, wealth and opportunity should be in the hands of the many and not the few. I will fight for all the residents of Bury North, and I will not let them down.

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