British Indian Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, has been selected by Labour as the party’s parliamentary candidate to contest the controversial constituency of Leicester East.
The 46-year-old India-born entrepreneur-politician beat Councillor Rishi Madlani to be named the candidate who will battle it out to become the Member of Parliament from Leicester.
While this has been a traditional Labour stronghold since the late 1980s, several scandals in recent years saw the Conservatives give a solid fight in the local elections in May. The task ahead for Agrawal will not be an easy one as he pledges a “reset” for a seat representing one of the UK’s largest South Asian populations.
Agrawal said: “Twenty-two years ago, I arrived in the UK with little else except determination to succeed. As a fintech entrepreneur, I built a team that challenged the status quo by lowering the cost of moving money for migrant workers and businesses alike.
“I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and opportunity. It’s why I’m standing to become the next Labour MP for Leicester East because I believe there’s a Labour way to grow our economy; one that’s pro-worker and pro-employer too.”
The chequered history of Leicester East includes one of Britain’s longest-serving ethnic minority MPs, Keith Vaz, having to step down amid a storm of controversy in 2019. His successor, Claudia Webbe, went on to be suspended by the party after a court ruled against her in a harassment case.
The seat will certainly be one to watch, with the Conservatives yet to select their candidate. Whoever emerges victorious in the next general election, expected in 2024, will undoubtedly have a massive task at hand of acting as a unifying force that can overcome all the scandals and also bring together a community shaken up by riots last year.
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