Lib Dems select Maajid Nawaz as candidate in ultra-close three-way marginal of Hampstead and Kilburn

by Stephen Tall on July 20, 2013

maajid-navazIn the 2010 general election, Hampstead and Kilburn was a three-way marginal: Glenda Jackson squeaked back in for Labour by just 42 votes, polling fewer than 900 votes ahead of the third-placed Lib Dems.

This week, the local Lib Dems selected the candidate they hope will succeed Ms Jackson when she retires at the next election: he’s Maajid Nawaz, a former radical Islamist, author of Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening, and co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation. As the Ethnic Minority Lib Dems note:

He is the first visible minority so far to become a PPC for the 2015 general election in a constituency where the party has a realistic chance of winning. EMLD welcomes his selection as a step forward in BAME representation. He will take on Labour’s Tulip Siddiq who is seeking to succeed Glenda Jackson as MP. Jackson’s north London seat has a paper-thin majority and is regarded as a three-way ultra marginal. The Lib Dems were in third place in 2010 but have a realistic chance of success, particularly if we garner a sizable share of the BAME vote, which makes up over 30% of the local electorate.

And here’s how the Qulliam Foundation acknowledges Maajid’s selection:

Maajid Nawaz will run in his personal capacity, as a member of the Liberal Democrat Party. In running for the Liberal Democrats, Mr Nawaz continues his political journey from a former leading member of a radical organisation towards liberal democratic values. He will remain Chairman of Quilliam and is committed to its cross-party values and mission of countering extremism, promoting pluralism, inspiring change and seeding democratic culture.

You can read more about Maajid on his Wikipedia page here, and see him in action on BBC1′s Question Time here:

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.