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Muslim assembly member joins Make Votes Matter rally

25th Feb 2022
Muslim assembly member joins Make Votes Matter rally

 Hina Bokhari AM speaking at a rally against the Election Bill (Credit: John Russell/@VotesMatter)

Hamed Chapman

The only Liberal Democrat woman to be elected to the London Assembly last year joined a ‘Stand for Democracy’ rally on February 5 at Parliament Square to say ‘No’ to the government’s new Elections Bill.
“The people in power do not want progress, equality or fairness.

The system works for them – and keeps them in power. Proportional Representation would ensure that the electorate is accurately represented and engaged,” Hina Bokhari said.

The London-wide candidate, who was first successfully elected in 2018, said as a brown, Muslim woman, she knows “our political system is broken as I am living proof of it”.

“I know that Proportional Representation (PR) will not solve all the complicated reasons behind this – and I know that we will still need to make fail safes to ensure a system that ensures true access to all – but right now, if you are a white male Etonian, maybe a liar, maybe break the law – you are more likely to be the PM than me. And that’s not fair!” This month’s rally was organised by Make Votes Matter (MVM), the single-issue national movement for PR. It comes as the controversial legislation is currently being debated in the House of Lords after receiving its third reading in the House of Commons.

Grassroots MVM Director, Emma Knaggs, said people in London and across the UK were also being asked to sign the petition ‘Less First Past the Post (FPTP), not more’ to send a “clear message to The government not to impose this archaic system on future mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.”

The Election Bill, if passed, will start to roll back elections that use a form of a proportionate representative system like for local assemblies and revert back to FPTP used as the primary form of allocating seats for legislative elections in about a third of the world’s countries, mostly in the English-speaking world.

“This would be a backward step for our democracy and leave millions more voters without a voice in politics, being governed by officials they simply didn’t vote for,” Knaggs warned.
Also at the rally, Open Britain CEO, Mark Kieran, said the Bill would “compromise the independence of the elections watchdog, frustrate the ability of already marginalised groups to cast their votes, and silence campaign organisations that don’t toe the government’s line. Our system would be a democracy in name only.”

Criticism has also been expressed about other aspects of the legislation that would make the Electoral Commission watchdog less independent, as well as making it more difficult for people to vote by introducing for the first time the requirement for photo ID to be able to cast ballots at polls.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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