Meet Yasmin Qureshi - MP for Bolton South East

Written by Ellie Barton

We were very lucky enough to be able to do a Q&A with Yasmin Qureshi, who is MP for Bolton South East. Read all about why she became an MP and what she does in Parliament.

How did you get into politics and become an MP, it’s not quite a job you can just go and look at?

I have been a member of the Labour party since my early 20s and have always had a keen interest in public service, hence my career as a prosecutor and as a policy advisor to the former Mayor of London. Representing somewhere I have lived was something I had always dreamed of, and was fortunately selected for Bolton South East in 2007.

What are you proud of in your time in politics?

I would say my proudest achievement in politics is definitely the results we have seen in the Primodos scandal since 2011. It isn’t finished yet by a long way, but we have given a voice to people referred to as the “forgotten thalidomide victims”.

What would you say to a young person wanting to go into politics?

The first thing I would tell a young person going into politics is to do it for the right reasons – providing a voice for the voiceless and giving people the support they need when they most need it. So much of what an MP does is done behind the scenes.

What do you think would attract girls into politics?

Representation! We need more women at the top to act as role models.

What do you do in Parliament?

In Parliament I regularly comment on topics in debates and also question ministers directly at oral question time. I am a member of Labour’s wider shadow frontbench with a role in the shadow international development team, focusing on South Asia and gender equality so regularly speak from the dispatch box on behalf of the opposition. I also have to vote in divisions, i.e. on bills and legislation.

Why is it important to vote?

Working people, women, and non-landowners struggled for years to get the vote. If you refuse to vote you let their hard work, go to waste.

What made you go into politics?

To provide a voice to the voiceless and make society a better, more equal place.

What topics do you advocate for the most?

Victims of the Primodos scandal, flooding victims in Prestolee and Stoneclough, and on international issues. I also lead a range of All-Party Parliamentary Groups on the following: Pakistan, Hajj and Umrah, HPTs, Srebrenica, as well as being involved in a range of others.

Did you go to university? If so, what did you study?

I studied law in London, followed by a legal training course.

If you hadn’t got into politics, what would you do instead?

Probably be a barrister still, or perhaps working for the Civil Service. It is difficult to say! I have thought that going back to study would be interesting.

What’s the best thing you’ve experienced during your career?

My election in 2010, whilst a bittersweet moment, was one I am very proud of.

Can you briefly describe any projects you currently have underway?

Currently I am campaigning to deepen ties between the Pakistan and the UK and to bring justice to the Primodos families.

Would you run for PM if the opportunity were to arise?

I’d have to be Labour leader first, under our parliamentary system. I don’t want to be leader and am happy with Keir Starmer.

Where you ever a member of Girlguiding? if so what sections/units?

Sadly not, but would advocate to any and all to join.

We’d like to thank Yasmin for answering our questions, and hope you enjoyed reading her answers! Want to know more about Parliament and politics? Check out our UK Parliament Week resource pack!

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