General Election 2017: Brummie activist Salma Yaqoob to stand in Bradford West
Former Birmingham city councillor Salma Yaqoob is standing as a candidate in Bradford West in the upcoming general election, she has announced.
Salma, a political activist and qualified psychotherapist, has thrown her hat into the ring following a six-year hiatus from political office, after stepping down as councillor for Birmingham Sparkbrook back in July 2011, due to ill health.
The 45-year-old is standing as an independent candidate in Bradford West, the constituency currently held by Labour’s Naz Shah and previously held by the Respect MP George Galloway until May 2015, when he was beaten into second place with 8,557 votes compared to Shah’s 19,977.
Although Salma Yaqoob was one of the founding members of the Respect Party, she will be standing as an non-party affiliated candidate during this campaign.
She resigned as head of Respect in 2012, in response to controversial remarks about rape victims made by then party MP George Galloway. She cited the need to defend rape victims as a greater priority than loyalty to Galloway, who at the time refused to apologise.
As a vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, there were rumours in 2015 of Salma was being lined up to stand as a Labour candidate in Birmingham Hall Green, but her membership application was reportedly rejected by local members. She has continued to express her support for Corbyn, attending a Momentum ‘Keep Corbyn’ rally in Birmingham Victoria Square in September of last year.
In the 2010 General Election, Salma came second in the Birmingham Hall Green constituency, coming second to Labour in Birmingham Hall Green by only 3,799 votes, achieving an 11.7% swing from Labour to Respect and making it a marginal seat
In Bradford West, Salma will be standing against the following candidates:
George Peter Beaumont Grant – Conservative
Alun Owen Griffiths – Liberal Democrat
Celia Ruth Hickson – The Green Party
Muhammad Hijazi – Independent
Derrick John Hodgson – UKIP
Khadmin Hussain – Independent
Naz Shah – Labour
Born in Bradford, Salma Yaqoob came to prominence as an anti-war campaigner in 2001, triggered by a personal post-9/11 incident during which she was spat at in the street in Birmingham city centre, while with her young son.
After sharing her experience at a public event on Islamophobia, she went on to become the chair of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and a key activist in the national movement, which led to the largest protest in British history taking to the streets of London in 2003.
She was also an active spokesperson for the Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the few females to hold such a role. Since stepping down as a councillor in 2011, Salma has maintained an active role in local and national socio-political activism, speaking at a number of anti-racism demonstrations and anti-Islamophobia platforms.
In 2015, she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate degree from Birmingham City University.
In March this year, the mother-of-three and her husband Dr Waqar Azmi co-organised a unity peace rally in Birmingham following the tragic Westminster Attack.