Ayesha Hazarika

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Ayesha Hazarika

Born (1975-12-15) 15 December 1975 (age 44)
Coatbridge, Scotland
EducationLaurel Bank School
Alma materUniversity of Hull
OccupationBroadcaster, journalist, political adviser
Years active2003–present
EmployerNews UK
Political partyLabour

Ayesha Hazarika MBE (born 15 December 1975) is a Scottish broadcaster, journalist and political commentator, and former political adviser to senior Labour Party politicians.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hazarika was born in Coatbridge, Scotland, to parents of Indian Muslim descent, and was educated at Laurel Bank, a private all-girls school in Glasgow, Scotland.[2] She studied Law at the University of Hull.[3]

Comedy[edit]

While working as a press officer at the Department of Trade and Industry, Hazarika was persuaded by a friend to take a comedy course run by comedian Logan Murray.[4] She began to perform paid comedy gigs alongside her day job at the DTI. In 2003, Hazarika was a semi-finalist in the Channel 4 stand-up comedy competition So You Think You're Funny.[5] However, her comedy took a back seat after 2007 as she focused on her developing career as a political adviser.[4]

Hazarika made a return to stand-up in 2016, performing a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe inspired by her time in politics.[6] In 2017, she brought a new show, State of the Nation, to Edinburgh.[7] In December 2018, Hazarika appeared on series 56 episode 10 of Have I Got News for You as Ian Hislop's teammate;[8] a role she reprised on 7 May 2020 during the "Lockdown" series.[9]

Political adviser and commentator[edit]

From 2007 to 2015, Hazarika served as a political adviser to senior Labour Party figures, including Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, including during the 2010 and 2015 general elections which returned a Conservative minority and majority respectively.[7] After leaving her role working for Harman in the aftermath of the 2015 general election, Hazarika was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year Honours list for political service. It was reported at the time that Harman had proposed that Hazarika receive a peerage, but Miliband had elevated another former adviser to the House of Lords instead.[10]

Describing herself as a "moderate" within the Labour Party,[11] Hazarika urged Jeremy Corbyn to resign after the Copeland by-election in early 2017. Following the 2017 general election, she acknowledged "I got it wrong on Corbyn", and urged "my fellow Labour colleagues to acknowledge Corbyn's success and to try to find peace with him".[12]

As well as returning to stand-up comedy following her departure from Westminster, Hazarika has since become a regular commentator in the media, including as a columnist for The Scotsman[13] and the London Evening Standard.[14] In September 2017, Hazarika was listed at Number 75 in the '100 Most Influential People on the Left' by commentator Iain Dale.[15] In 2018, she co-authored the book Punch and Judy Politics: An Insiders' Guide to Prime Minister’s Questions with fellow Labour speechwriter and special adviser Tom Hamilton.

In June 2020, she was one of the launch presenters of the Times Radio digital radio station, presenting Saturday and Sunday drivetime shows.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Curle, Michael (12 April 2017). "Former Labour Party special adviser Ayesha Hazarika on swapping politics for stand-up comedy". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Life lines Asian comedian AYESHA HAZARIKA knows what life's like at the sharp end: on stage and in government". The Herald. Glasgow. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. ^ "About Me". ayeshahazarika.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Hattenstone, Simon (6 July 2016). "Ayesha Hazarika: 'Labour's best drinker? They're so good at it, I couldn't say'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  5. ^ "comedy cv – the UK's largest collection of comedians biogs and photos". comedycv.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Ayesha Hazarika: Why standing up as a feminist can be a funny business". London Evening Standard. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Comedy review: Ayesha Hazarika: State of the Nation". The Scotsman. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  8. ^ "BBC One – Have I Got News for You, Series 56, Episode 10". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  9. ^ https://inews.co.uk/culture/have-i-got-news-for-you-new-series-bbc-one-coronavirus-lockdown-video-conference-2525476
  10. ^ McSmith, Andy (30 December 2015). "Almost 30 Tory Party members or supporters have received New Year's Honours". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Ayesha Hazarika: Everything in moderation – except in the party of victorious Corbynites". The Scotsman. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  12. ^ Hazarika, Ayesha (9 June 2017). "I admit it: I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn | Ayesha Hazarika". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Author – Ayesha Hazarika". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Ayesha Hazarika". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  15. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People on the Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  16. ^ Lerone, Toby (2 June 2020). "Launch date and schedule revealed for Times Radio". RadioToday. Retrieved 3 June 2020.