Bradford West

Meet Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bradford West, Naz Shah.

I was only 6 when my father abandoned my mother with two young children and pregnant with a third when he eloped with the neighbour’s 16 year old daughter. I remember been thrown into the back of a taxi with black bin liners full of our belongings and packed off from the family home on Hartman Place to my granddads home in Kirkham Road. We never really saw the end of black bin liners over the next few years as we moved from squalor to squalor, 14 times in less than 2 years, from back to back houses where the toilet was outside to rat infested damp houses where we lived and slept in just one room.

Then her mother bought a house with the proceeds from selling her wedding jewelry, but the house was in the name of a man, Azam.

My mother’s attempt to provide her children with the security of a home came at the expense of being abused by Azam over years. A man that she thought would save her children from an uncertain and insecure future, little did she know he would be the exact opposite. My mother had sent me to Pakistan at the age of 12 when she felt I was at risk of his abuse. When my younger sister was growing up and my mother felt she was now at risk, and following years of anti- depressants, failed suicide attempts and feeling desperate and destitute she snapped.

She killed the man who abused her.

I remember how my days and nights became one, how my world was turned upside down, how I became a mother to my two siblings who were 11 and 13 at the time. Up until then the worst I had known personally was my own forced marriage through emotional blackmail when I was just 15 years old whilst in Pakistan.

Oh is that all.

She worked a crap job, then a slightly less crap one, then one where she could actually use her talents.

I became a carer for children with disabilities as my mother had also been a carer. I then went on to become an advocate for women with disabilities and their carers. I felt my calling was to help people and I then joined the Samaritans. I didn’t realise how much anger I carried inside me towards the ‘systems’ that failed me and my family because I had turned it into this force to change people’s lives. I would get emotional about the families I was helping and angry if they weren’t getting the right services, until one day my mentor pulled me to one side and asked me why was I so upset when families didn’t get the services they needed , how much of this is really about the failure you experienced? That conversation was a game changer for me.

I quickly realised to effect change I must be able to influence decision making and that’s when I joined the NHS. To begin with I managed giving out grants and ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ and we then started ‘commissioning services’. I found my niche when my manager recognised my talent and invested heavily in my leadership development. I fell in love with the idea of ‘Leadership’ and am still in love with the notion of it being the key to change society for the betterment of humanity

Beyond my own career I continued to fly the flag around violence against women through speaking at conferences and contributing to discussions. I didn’t really appreciate exactly how much I was using my own natural leadership and passion to influence policy and change.

Now, she’s running for Galloway’s seat. Let’s hope she wins!



  1. says

    @johnthedrunkard FWIW the answer to your question (as of the bi-election that saw him elected in his current seat) is “a surprisingly broad section of Bradfordians” He won every ward, which varied from poor to affluent and from very Pakistani to very white British. Labour in the city had (has?) issues with machine politics, trading favours with patriarchal “community leaders” from a few powerful Pakistani clans and RESPECT seemed to run a smart campaign by-passing and for example having many more Muslim women visible a campaigners in their own right.
    Anyway, he’s pretty awful and generally thought a lazy constituency MP so I hope the chuck him out.

  2. says

    Bradford, like my own constituency Walthamstow suffers from the Biraderi voting system. We’d vote for a parsnip who promised to sweep it aside as Galloway did in Bradford.

    Although out of the two , I’d prefer the parsnip.

  3. says

    Oh dear, I’m afraid she isn’t supported by her local Labour party who were upset by an all woman shortlist and one of their own not getting the plum job. There is talk of her own party campaigning for Respect and the neighbouring seat also going to Respect out of spite.

    When Biraderi works for the Labour party in Walthamstow they ignore it but it can turn around and bite you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *