Former Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan is to stand for the Liberal Democrats in the new Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency in the General Election, which is due later this year.
Khan, 51, who was a councillor for Shadwell up until May 2022, will most likely be challenging sitting MP Rushanara Ali, who has represented the Bethnal Green and Bow seat for Labour since 2010.
The new name for the constituency follows boundary changes among the Tower Hamlets parliamentary seats with the name reverting to one which was abolished in 1997. Bow will now be included in the newly created seat of Stratford and Bow.
Khan was quoted by My London as telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service that her campaign will focus on climate change, the NHS, knife crime, cost of living and the housing crisis.
She talked about how ethnic minorities don’t get a say or an opinion on the climate change debate and wants there to be more inclusivity.
She lived in the area for over 30 years and explained that she wants to see a change in her community.
The former Shadwell ward councillor said: “For me, it’s about standing up for people. In Bethnal Green and Stepney, I’ve seen it all, from city wealth to local struggles. I want to represent this constituency as my roots are in Stepney.”
Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats tweeted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on January 15: “We’re pleased to announce that @RabinaKhan, a former councillor of twelve years in Shadwell, and former special advisor in the House of Lords, will be our candidate for the new parliamentary constituency of Bethnal Green and Stepney at this year’s general election.”
For 12 years, the mother-of-three had represented Shadwell ward and was a special advisor in the House of Lords. She spent five years as cabinet member, whilst being a councillor, for housing. Challenging the leaseholder system was one of the key parts of her housing campaign.
Khan also represented a number of political parties throughout her councillor career, including the Labour Party and many smaller independent groups.
She and her colleagues disbanded from People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH) and changed to the Liberal Democrat party on August 29 2018, making her the first and only Liberal Democrat councillor in Tower Hamlets, and has been a member ever since.
She lost the Tower Hamlets Mayor election during the first round in May 2022. She received 6,430 votes and was beaten by John Biggs, who had 27,894 votes. Lutfur Rahman won in the final round with 40,804 votes, beating Biggs by 7,317 votes.
The former councillor is also a freelance journalist who has written for many news organisations such as The Guardian, The Independent, Washington Post and more. She wrote a Financial Times article about climate change in Bangladesh.