I grew up in London as part of a working class family who taught me the importance of hard work, strong public services and giving back to the local community. From the age of 15, I started working as a waiter, going on to work as an assistant manager at a restaurant, a community outreach worker, and later a publisher. At the age of 23, I set up my own business. I now own three restaurants very near Waterloo station in Lambeth, employing dozens of local people. I have been a community organiser and campaigner for the Labour Party since I was 19 years old.
I was proud to be the Labour Party candidate for the London and Westminster Cities constituency at the June 2017 election. We ran a fantastic campaign that worked hard to listen to the concerns of local residents on issues from housing to making sure we get the best Brexit deal possible. We increased Labour’s hold on the seat and showed that through hard work, cooperation and talking about issues that matter to people, we were able to make a difference. We managed to reduce Conservative majority from around 9000 to around 3000.
The campaign has convinced me more than ever of the power of the democratic process. With Brexit looming, and our economy and health services on shaky ground, it is now vitally important that we continue to work together to make our great city a strong, prosperous community for everyone.
I have achieved what I have through dedication and hard work, and I’ve always lived by the rule that if there is something you care about, you do something about it. I believe the same tireless approach should be shown by those lucky enough to be selected to represent their constituents in parliament.
I joined the Labour Party because of the kindness so many Labour people showed my family when they arrived in Britain from Turkey as Kurdish political refugees. My first campaign was in the 1997 election, and I’ve been active in every election ever since.
My campaigning experience, especially anti-drug and anti-gang advocacy, has taught me how to find common ground with people and bring them together to get things done.
More recently, I have established SME4Labour, a group dedicated to build Labour's support base amongst the small, medium entreprises and self employed people.