Shah in June 2017
|Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities|
|Assumed office |
11 July 2018
|Shadow Sec.||Dawn Butler|
The Baroness Williams of Trafford
|Preceded by||Dawn Butler|
|Member of Parliament|
for Bradford West
|Assumed office |
7 May 2015
|Preceded by||George Galloway|
13 November 1973
Naseem Shah (Urdu: نسیم شاہ) (born 13 November 1973) is a British Labour Party politician. She was elected at the 2015 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford West, winning the seat from George Galloway of the Respect Party.
In April 2016, Shah was suspended from the Labour Party after being accused of antisemitism after it was reported that she had in 2014, prior to becoming an MP, shared a satirical map from Norman Finkelstein's webpage. Following her apology, she was reinstated in July 2016.
She was re-elected with an increased majority in the 2017 election. 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.
Born in Bradford, 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.
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.
In a secret ballot on 21 February 2015, 237 Labour Party members in Bradford took part in the selection vote which saw Amina Ali winning with 142 votes. Shah received 13 votes. However, after Ali resigned her candidature within 72 hours citing personal reasons, Shah was chosen as the new candidate by the Labour Party National Executive.
Shah continued to receive support from the national Labour Party. Harriet Harman reflected that Shah "will represent not just the people in her constituency, but all the people who feel they've had an absolutely terrible time and want somebody to fight for them". Yvette Cooper, during a campaigning visit to the region, declared that she was "so proud of the work Naz has been doing" and "all the people she has been talking to".
Shah won the Bradford West constituency in May 2015 with a majority of 11,420 over George Galloway. When elected, Shah was one of nine Muslim Labour MPs. On 10 May 2015, Galloway announced an intention to challenge the result, alleging that false statements and malpractice related to postal votes during the campaign meant that the result of the election should be set aside, but did not do so. The Fawcett Society expressed concern that "the continued opposition of the unsuccessful Respect Party candidate George Galloway, to Shah's election is the culmination of a sexist electoral campaign by Galloway". In July 2015, Jeremy Corbyn said that he thought "...the tactics he (George Galloway) used against our candidate, were appalling. I was quite shocked; it was appalling."
Shah endorsed Yvette Cooper during the Labour leadership contest in 2015. Shah was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, in February 2016.
In April 2016, amidst an ongoing controversy about antisemitism in the Labour Party, Shah was discovered by blogger Paul Staines to have reposted in August 2014 a Facebook post containing a map which Norman Finkelstein had posted to his website satirically promoting the relocation of Israel to the United States. Shah also commented on the post, suggesting the plan might "save them some pocket money" (i.e. by ending US aid for Israel). The author of the post, Finkelstein, commented: "[the map] was, and still is, funny. Were it not for the current political context, nobody would have noticed Shah’s reposting of it either. Otherwise, you’d have to be humourless. [..] As crazy as the discourse on Israel is in America, at least we still have a sense of humour. It’s inconceivable that any politician in the U.S. would be crucified for posting such a map."
Shah stated in response that her views on Israel had moderated in the 20 months since the post. On 26 April 2016, she stepped down from her unpaid post as John McDonnell's Parliamentary Private Secretary, but kept her seat on the Home Affairs Select Committee, which was investigating the rise of antisemitism in the UK.
Jeremy Corbyn condemned the remarks an "offensive and unacceptable", and Shah was suspended from the Labour Party on 27 April 2016. On 5 July 2016, Shah was reinstated. Labour's National Executive Committee gave her a formal warning, told her to apologise for bringing the party into disrepute, and warned that if there was another incident, she would be expelled. In her first interview after the reinstatement, she said the controversy was caused by her "ignorance" and that the post was antisemitic but she was not.
In August 2017, Shah retweeted and liked a tweet from an Owen Jones parody account which read: "Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of diversity". Shah deleted the retweet and unliked the tweet soon after. A spokesperson for Shah said: "This was a genuine accident eight days ago that was rectified within minutes." Shah was quoted in the Rotherham Advertiser that she had been working for "over 20 years on the issues of child abuse, violence against women, and grooming. She has and will continue to advocate for all victims, and work towards eradicating this evil from society". Shah was criticised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath, who said the MP "should know better", and the controversy led to a campaign to have Shah resign or be removed from her job. A survivor of the Rotherham abuse called for Shah to make a public apology and resign.
Following Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's death in April 2018, Shah paid tribute to her on Twitter by tweeting an image with Mandela's quote: "Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country." The practice of necklacing is the summary execution and torture carried out by forcing a rubber tyre, filled with petrol, around a victim's chest and arms, and setting it on fire. Shah later deleted the tweet without comment.
In July 2018, Shah was appointed Shadow Minister of State for Women and Equalities.
During the early 2010s, Shah was injured in a hit-and-run collision, which has left her with ongoing periodic severe nerve pain which requires hospitalisation.
The language I used was anti-Semitic, it was offensive," she said. "What I did was I hurt people and the language that was the clear anti-Semitic language
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Bradford West