Amjad Bashir

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Amjad Bashir
MEP
20150908 EP-024422 MCU 012 (1).jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
Assumed office
1 July 2014
Preceded by Edward McMillan-Scott
Personal details
Born Amjud Mahmood Bashir
(1952-09-17) 17 September 1952 (age 64)
Jhelum, Punjab, Pakistan
Nationality British
Political party Conservative (1997–2012, 2015-Present)
UKIP (2012–2015)
Alma mater University of Bradford
Website http://amjadbashir.com/

Amjad Mahmood Bashir (Urdu: امجد محمود بشیر‎; born 17 September 1952) is a Member of the European Parliament for the Yorkshire and the Humber region for the Conservative Party. He was elected in 2014 for the UK Independence Party and defected to the Conservative Party on 24 January 2015.

Early life[edit]

Bashir was born in Pakistan and moved to Yorkshire aged eight, to live with his father who was a mill worker in Bradford. He is a member of the British-Pakistani community. Bashir attended Thornton Grammar School before attending the University of Bradford to study Chemical Engineering.

Career[edit]

Professional career[edit]

Bashir is a restaurateur who, prior to becoming politically active, ran two establishments in Bradford and Manchester.[1]

Political career[edit]

After fifteen years as a member of the Conservatives,[2] Bashir joined UKIP in 2012[3][4] and was placed second on the party's list of candidates for the Yorkshire and the Humber region at the 2014 European Parliament election. UKIP topped the regional poll with 31% of the vote winning three seats and Bashir was thus elected as one of six MEPs for the region.[5] He was the party's small and medium business and communities spokesman until his defection to the Conservatives in January 2015.

Bashir is a member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Employment and Industry committees. He is also a member of the inter-parliamentary delegations for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan.[6]

Bashir is the chairman of the ECR Group's working group on SMEs and also Conservative parliamentary delegation spokesman on SMEs.[7]

On 20 February 2016, Bashir announced that he would be supporting the campaign to leave the European Union in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016.[8]

As of May 2017, Bashir ranks 720 out of 751 MEPs for his participation in roll call votes in the European Parliament.[9]

Defection to Conservatives and aftermath[edit]

Bashir met with Conservative leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron on Friday 23 January 2015 to discuss moving back to the party and made the news official the following day, 24 January 2015.[10] Cameron stated that he was, "absolutely delighted that Amjad had decided to leave Ukip and join the Conservative Party.” He also stated that he had an, "inspiring story", and that, "it's another sign that in this great country of ours you can come to Britain without very much and you can be a member of the European parliament, an MP, sit in the cabinet.”[11]

Concurrent with this announcement and in the aftermath, a series of allegations were made, principally by his former party, UKIP, seeking to damage Bashir's reputation. UKIP claimed that Bashir had failed to attend a meeting on 20 January 2015, three days prior to his defection, to discuss their concerns, pending an investigation, into what they described as, "a number of extremely serious issues … which include unanswered financial and employment questions" and that, "UKIP MEP Mike Hookem had passed on evidence of Mr Bashir's alleged wrongdoing to West Yorkshire police."[12][13]

Amjad Bashir MEP hosts a multi-faith celebration in Bradford to mark the Queen's 90 years on her official birthday.

More specifically, they alleged interference in a UKIP Keighley candidate selection, immigration offences in his restaurants and financial irregularities with regards to expenses incurred by his European parliamentary political group at the time, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy.[14] Bashir described the allegations as "absurd and made-up".[11]

When asked by Channel 4 News Presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, what day Bashir was suspended from Ukip, Ukip MEP Roger Helmer replied "It was, I think, Friday". This was the same day Bashir met with David Cameron. Channel 4's Guru-Murthy said to Helmer "that it all sounds very convenient Mr Helmer, what it looks like is that you're throwing mud at someone that has deserted you".[15]

Writing for ConservativeHome, Conservative MEP for the South East of England, Dan Hannan, also slammed UKIP's allegations following Bashir's defection. Hannan said "On discovering that he was leaving, UKIP suddenly announced that Bashir was under investigation, and tried to suggest that he would have been pushed had he not jumped. A week ago, the Yorkshireman was a popular frontbencher, often to be found in TV studios defending UKIP against accusations of bigotry. Now, the activists who were lauding him are trying to imply that he is some sort of crook. Nothing in British politics is so ugly as the tribalism engendered by a defection. One moment, you're cheering a fellow to the rafters; the next, you're calling him a treacherous swine."[16]

The then Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps MP, also defended Bashir. When questioned about Bashir's defection at a press conference in Westminster, Shapps said "I can't believe that cynical hacks are believing this stuff to be honest. What happened is to be clear: they (Ukip) were perfectly content with him, they had him in the diary for last weekend for a Ukip rally. They had him in the diary for this weekend, as I mentioned, for another Ukip rally. Farage has been out and defended him on really their key accusation — and then they get wind of this defection and suddenly they rush out of the door all of the stuff that's already been there for years. It's pretty desperate stuff to be perfectly honest".[17]

Ukip's only Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell, also said he was "personally sad" following Bashir's defection.[18]

On 25 January 2015, George Galloway's Respect Party, alleged that Bashir had been selected as a council candidate for the party in 2012 for the Bradford Moor ward of Bradford Borough Council but was then supposedly deselected.

In April 2015, Bashir's lawyers wrote to Farage to withdraw the claims made about him or face a libel action.[19] As of April 2016, no such withdrawal has taken place, nor has any libel action been publicly announced.

Awards and Nominations[edit]

In January 2015, Bashir was nominated for the Politician of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile - Amjad Bashir: Strength in diversity of city that inspired the man behind Zouk". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Why ARE so many Tories turning to UKIP?". Mail Online. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir defects to Conservative Party - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Mason, Rowena; correspondent, political (4 November 2014). "How did Ukip get where it is today?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "vote 2014 - Yorkshire and the Humber". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Amjad BASHIR". Europarl.europa.eu. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Amjad: Britain's future is best-forged outside the EU". Amjadbashir.com. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Amjad BASHIR". votewatch.eu. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "The moment Amjad Bashir defects in person to David Cameron". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Jenkins, Lin (24 January 2015). "Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir defects to the Conservatives". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "Ukip's 20 suspended members". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Amjad Bashir MEP suspended from UKIP pending investigation into serious issues". UKIP. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "Do these allegations explain why Ukip's Amjad Bashir defected to the Tories? | Coffee House". Coffee House. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBle1fXxgV0
  16. ^ http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/01/daniel-hannan-mep-as-bashir-signs-up-to-the-conservatives-dont-knock-defectors-whichever-party-they-join-or-leave.html
  17. ^ http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/grant-shapps-defends-successful-defection-of-ukip-mep-amjad-bashir/
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXOK3v31VvQ
  19. ^ "UKIP's Nigel Farage facing High Court threat from Amjad Bashir". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.