Kurdish British mayor aims to be first Kurdish UK Labour MP

“I believe we can create something really special here, run a brilliant campaign, and get the first-ever Labour MP from a Kurdish background.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Ibrahim Dogus, mayor of the London borough Lambeth, has nominated himself as a Labour Party MP for Vauxhall, London this month and wants to be the first Labour MP of Kurdish background.

“I believe we can create something really special here, run a brilliant campaign, and get the first-ever Labour MP from a Kurdish background,” Dogus, 39, told Kurdistan 24.

“I am proud to be a Labour councilor, one of the few in the UK from a Kurdish background. And I am proud to be Mayor of Lambeth, supporting refugees and vulnerable groups throughout the borough through my mayor’s charities,” he said.

Dogus told Kurdistan 24 he is especially keen to focus on Brexit, which the majority of the Lambeth borough had opposed.

“Brexit will be a big issue at the next election, and as a Labour councilor and Mayor of Lambeth I have made it clear that I oppose a Brexit,” he said.

British citizens voted in a 2016 Brexit referendum to leave the European Union. However, many remain opposed to leaving Europe.

“Labour members oppose Brexit. We need a Labour candidate who robustly represents the community’s views and will strive to repair the damage wrought by the Tory mishandling of the Brexit crisis,” Dogus said.

Dogus, a Kurd from Turkey, arrived in the UK in 1994, speaking no English.

“Like many people in Vauxhall, I was not born here—I chose to live here. And like most immigrants, I came here for a better life, away from war and conflict,” he told Kurdistan 24.

“When I arrived, I got down to work, waiting on tables and washing up, while getting an education and putting down roots in the community. Today, I employ over 50 people in my restaurants and other enterprises.”

Dogus, who also owns the Troia restaurant, is the founder of the UK-based think tank Centre for Turkey Studies as well as The Centre for Kurdish Progress.

Last year, the 39-year-old was awarded for his bravery, compassion, and front line assistance to police officers during the Westminster Bridge terror attack in March 2017 by keeping his restaurant open to police officers.

He also recently opened a pay-it-forward café to help homeless people.

Dogus has already received support from other parliamentarians as he seeks to become a Labour MP.

MP Fabian Hamilton, a Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament, described the Kurdish mayor as “an effective force promoting ties between the small business community and the party.”

“As an MP, I am sure he would continue to champion the rights and protections for the small business owners who are vital to our movement,” Hamilton added.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany