Rabina khan is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney
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Rabina Khan on ending arms sales to Israel, leasehold, and diversifying conversations about the climate

As part of The Slice Tower Hamlets’ coverage of the general election, we interview Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney.

Khan was born in the Sylhet District, Bangladesh, before moving to England with her mother at the age of three. She moved to Tower Hamlets at 19 after completing her A-Levels and began her first job, securing work experience placements for young people of Bangladeshi origin in the City of London. 

She then worked as a racial and domestic abuse officer on the Isle of Dogs, providing support for victims at a time when British National Party (BNP) candidate, Derek Beackon, was elected as a councillor in 1993. She then became a women’s regeneration project manager in Bethnal Green, and a senior young people’s advocate across the borough, providing mentoring and addressing issues like housing.

In May 2010, Khan was elected as a Labour councillor for Shadwell and soon became a Cabinet Member for Housing, a position she held until 2015. Though she left Labour in 2010, she continued being a councillor until 2022, as a member of Tower Hamlets First (THF) in 2014, then Tower Hamlets Independent Group (THIG) in 2015, and then the People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH) in 2018 – a party she helped to form.

In 2018, she joined the Liberal Democrats, making her the only Lib Dem councillor on Tower Hamlets Council. She stood in the 2022 Tower Hamlets Mayoral contest as the Lib Dem candidate, and for re-election in her Shadwell seat, but lost both.

As well as working in local politics, Khan has been a school governor at Smithy Street Primary School in Stepney and Mulberry Girls School in Shadwell. As a journalist, she’s written for the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post and the Independent.

In 2003, Khan published her first novel, Rainbow Hands. She’s since published a short story, If Birds Could Fly, followed by her second novel, Ayesha’s Rainbow, in 2006 – a children’s book about a young Bangladeshi girl growing up in east London, exploring themes of racism and the stereotyping of Muslims. In 2021, she published her auto-biographical non-fiction book, My Hair is Pink Under This Veil.

In 2005, Khan co-founded Monsoon Press, and two years later founded the television production company, Silsila Productions, where she’s now creative director. She has worked as a creative consultant for BBC, ITV and the Wellcome Trust, and is currently completing a master’s in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London.

‘I never left, I was not absent and remained steadfast in advocating for people in the borough I call home,’ Khan said. ‘People and communities have been at the heart of my work – being a constituency MP is not just a duty; it’s my unwavering priority.’

We asked Khan why Bethnal Green and Stepney should vote for a Lib Dem as their next MP:

For more of our general election coverage, read Is this the end of Rushanara Ali? The rise of the independents and the battle to oust Labour from Tower Hamlets

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One thought on “Rabina Khan on ending arms sales to Israel, leasehold, and diversifying conversations about the climate

  • Vote Peter Sceats of Reform UK for stability locally. Lib Dems will just not bring that round here. None will Labour or left leaning independents backed by Lutfur Rahman and George Galloway who are currently fighting eachother. Conservatives haha….nope


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