Politics is a family affair: 21-year-old councillor follows in mum’s footsteps
Politics runs in the family for some people and the Khans from Manchester are proving to be a name to watch out for in the governmental sphere.
21-year-old Zara Khan, a third year student nurse at the University of Lancashire, joined her mum on the council earlier this month after being elected in Chorley on Thursday 5th May.
Her mum Hasina was first elected to her seat in 2004 and now Zara is following in her footsteps with election for Labour in Chorley East.
The second generation politician received an impressive majority of 828 of the 1,176 votes.
Zara said: “It feels absolutely fabulous to become a councillor. I was very overwhelmed and very happy on the night, which resulted in a few tears during the winning speech.”
She continued: “My ward colleagues, who have been my biggest support during the run up to the elections, were feeling confident. I was really pleased with the result. It goes to show what tireless door-knocking and leafleting can do.”
Hasina recalls: “It was a very proud moment for me, my husband Zafar and the rest of the family to have Zara become a councillor.
“It’s great to see young people come forward, especially young Muslim women. We have been very well supported by non-BME communities and Zara’s been so well received. It’s been unbelievable.”
Zara joined her mum at a ‘grassroots’ level, leafleting and campaigning with her from a young age.
Her mum continued: “Zara’s very observant and has experienced what I’ve gone through.
“She perhaps has more insight and a better understanding of the inner workings of government because of this.
“She hasn’t just jumped into politics, she’s had years of experience and has been a member of the Labour party since she was about 14 years of age.”
She added: “Despite what many Asian communities think about men who ‘hold women back’, this is definitely not the case in our family. The foundation is the family; it’s been a real family affair.””
As one of the youngest councillors to be elected in the recent local elections, Zara is hoping to emulate the success of her own political idol – her mum - who “never lets anyone down”.
Hasina herself believes there should “be more of an age balance” on local councils.
“We shouldn’t discriminate regardless of age and gender. We should go for the best candidate,” she said.
If Zara could change one thing about society in the UK, she says it would be the NHS.
“Better pay, better places, better care,” she added.
Zara has some advice for young people who are interested in politics and that is to get involved at a ‘local level’.
“Become a party member, join in with leafleting and canvassing because it really builds your confidence; attend local meetings for members and get involved,” she said.
“Most of all, just go for it. Don't over-think it, give everything a go. And, listen to your parents- they are usually right.”