Amjad Bashir

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Amjad Bashir

20150908 EP-024422 MCU 012 (1).jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
In office
1 July 2014 – 1 July 2019[1][2]
Preceded byGodfrey Bloom
Succeeded byJake Pugh
Personal details
Born
Amjud Mahmood Bashir

(1952-09-17) 17 September 1952 (age 66)
Jhelum, Punjab, Pakistan
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative (1997–2012, 2015–present)
UKIP (2012–2015)
Alma materUniversity of Bradford
Websitehttp://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.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Bashir is a restaurateur who, prior to becoming politically active, ran two establishments in Bradford and Manchester.[3]

Political career[edit]

After fifteen years as a member of the Conservative Party,[4] Bashir joined UKIP in 2012[5][6] 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.[7] He was the party's spokesman on communities and on small and medium-sized businesses 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.[8]

Bashir is the chairman of the ECR Group's working group on SMEs and also Conservative parliamentary delegation spokesman on SMEs.[9]

On 20 February 2016, Bashir announced that he would be supporting the campaign to leave the European Union in the forthcoming EU membership referendum.[10]

As of May 2017, Bashir ranked 720 out of 751 MEPs for his participation in roll call votes in the European Parliament.[11]

Defection to Conservatives and aftermath[edit]

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

Bashir met with Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron on 23 January 2015 to discuss moving back to the party, and made the news official the following day.[12] Cameron stated that he was "absolutely delighted that Bashir had decided to leave Ukip and join the Conservative Party". He also stated that Bashir 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".[13]

Concurrently with this announcement and in the aftermath, a series of allegations against Bashir were made, principally by his former party, UKIP. UKIP claimed that he 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."[14][15]

More specifically, they alleged interference in a UKIP Keighley candidate selection, immigration offences in his restaurants and financial irregularities with regard to expenses incurred by his European parliamentary political group at the time, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy.[16] Bashir described the allegations as "absurd and made-up".[13]

Bashir was defended by Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and by then-Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps, both of whom criticised the allegations by UKIP.[17][18]

Bashir's lawyers wrote to Nigel Farage in April 2015, inviting him to withdraw the claims made about Bashir or face a libel action.[19] As of April 2016, no such withdrawal had 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. ^ "Key dates ahead". European Parliament. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Key dates ahead". BBC News Online. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Profile - Amjad Bashir: Strength in diversity of city that inspired the man behind Zouk". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Why ARE so many Tories turning to UKIP?". Mail Online. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  5. ^ "UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir defects to Conservative Party - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  6. ^ Mason, Rowena; correspondent, political (4 November 2014). "How did Ukip get where it is today?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  7. ^ "vote 2014 - Yorkshire and the Humber". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Amjad BASHIR". Europarl.europa.eu. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Amjad: Britain's future is best-forged outside the EU". Amjadbashir.com. 20 February 2016. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Amjad BASHIR". votewatch.eu. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  12. ^ "The moment Amjad Bashir defects in person to David Cameron". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  13. ^ a b Jenkins, Lin (24 January 2015). "Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir defects to the Conservatives". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Ukip's 20 suspended members". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Amjad Bashir MEP suspended from UKIP pending investigation into serious issues". UKIP. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Do these allegations explain why Ukip's Amjad Bashir defected to the Tories? | Coffee House". Coffee House. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/grant-shapps-defends-successful-defection-of-ukip-mep-amjad-bashir/
  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.