|Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast South
7 March 2007 – 7 May 2016
|Preceded by||Esmond Birnie|
|Succeeded by||Paula Bradshaw|
17 June 1950 |
British Hong Kong
|Spouse(s)||Gavin Millar (m. 2010-12, div.)|
|Alma mater||University of Ulster|
Anna Manwah Lo MBE (born 17 June 1950) is an Alliance Party politician in Northern Ireland. Born in Hong Kong, of Cantonese-Chinese ethnicity, Lo was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast South in the 2007 assembly election. She was the first ethnic-minority politician elected at a regional level in Northern Ireland, and the first politician born in East Asia elected to any legislative body in the United Kingdom.[notes 1]
In 2011, Anna Lo was appointed as the chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly's Environment Committee. She used this role to influence the Local Government Bill. As a result of her amendments, the new Councils will have greater levels of openness and transparency as the audio of the main Council meetings will be recorded and Council papers will be placed online. She has also further improved the freedom of the press at the new Councils by ensuring that journalists and the public will be able to use social media during meetings.
She was selected as the Alliance Party's candidate for the Northern Ireland constituency in the 2014 European Parliament election. She won the best ever European election performance for the party.
Lo is also a social worker and former chairperson of the Northern Ireland Chinese Welfare Association. In 1978, she started the first ever English evening class for Chinese people in Northern Ireland in a further education college. Anna was awarded an MBE in 1999 for Services to Ethnic Minorities. A Taoist by birth, Lo has resided in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, but is now an atheist.
Lo has been the target of racial abuse by Ulster loyalists and says she does not intend to stand for re-election as a result, and considered leaving Northern Ireland altogether due to rising anti-immigrant racism in the country. She also expressed her outrage at First Minister Peter Robinson's defence of Pastor James McConnell in light of Islamophobic remarks.
Anna Lo has declared her preference for Irish unification. She describes herself as anti-colonial and has said the partition of Ireland was "artificial". The Alliance Party played down her remarks, with fellow Alliance elected representative Geraldine Rice expressing shock at her stance.
- Although she had been referred to in some media as "the first Chinese person to be elected as a lawmaker anywhere in Europe", there have been a number of lawmakers who were elected into European parliaments before her:
Of Chinese ancestry:
- Ing Yoe Tan, member of the Dutch Senate from 1999 to 2011
- Varina Tjon-A-Ten, member of the Dutch House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006
- Mei Li Vos, member of the Dutch House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010 and 2012 to present
- "Belfast politician defies racists". BBC News. 26 March 2007.
- McBride, S. "South Belfast: Lo and behold – UK first for Alliance's Anna". Belfast Telegraph, 8 March 2007.
- "The Official Report Monday 16 May 2011". Niassembly.gov.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- "Lo highlights Alliance amendments to Local Government Bill (The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland)". Allianceparty.org. 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- White, Bill. "Elections round-up: Alliance outperforms against pollster prediction". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- McDonald, H. "Chinese candidate defies racist abuse". The Guardian, 11 February 2007.
- "Anna Lo MLA | Alliance Party | South Belfast Constituency Office | About Anna Lo". www.annalo.org. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
- "Only Chinese-born parliamentarian in UK to quit politics over racist abuse". The Guardian. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Anna Lo: 'United Ireland' remarks 'insulting', say unionists". BBC News. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- "Anna Lo comments: Geraldine Rice 'shocked' by united Ireland remarks". BBC News. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Chinese Politician Wins in N. Ireland – 10 March 2007, Yahoo Asia News (AP)
- Biography – Anna Lo MLA – Northern Ireland Assembly
- www.annalo.org – Official website of Alliance South Belfast MLA Anna Lo
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|MLA for Belfast South