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|Councillor for Bishop's ward on |
|Assumed office |
3 May 2018
|Preceded by||Ben Kind|
Ibrahim Dogus (born July 1980) is an entrepreneur and restaurateur. He is founder of the Centre for Turkey Studies and Centre for Kurdish Progress, and an active organiser for the Turkish and Kurdish community in London and the UK. He is also a British Labour Party politician, serving as a Lambeth Borough councillor. Dogus was the unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency in the June 2017 UK general election and for West Bromwich East at the 2019 general election.
Dogus took over a struggling Troia restaurant after university. He is now the owner of three restaurants: Troia, in Waterloo, London; Westminster Kitchen, near Westminster Bridge; and Cucina. He attracted media attention in 2017 when he fed hundreds of emergency service workers for free at Troia in the wake of the 2017 Westminster attack: all three of his restaurants were located in the cordoned-off exclusion zone near the attack. In 2019 he launched "With Love", a "pay-it-forward cafe" where the extra customers pay supports the homeless and struggling families.[better source needed]
Since January 2019, Dogus has been targeted by far-right groups after the restaurants he founded included on the bottom of their receipts the message: "Brexit is bad. Immigrants make Britain great. They also cooked and served your food today." TripAdvisor had to suspend reviews of Westminster Kitchen.
In December 2019, The Times published an investigation into tax-evasion by Dogus in connection to his businesses. The investigation stated that Dogus, in 2011, was forced to surrender thousands of pounds in cash after attempting to smuggle it out of the country via his aunt for the purpose of "unlawful conduct" including "tax evasion." In the subsequent court case, Dogus claimed the cash was legitimate and that he had sent it to Turkey in order to repay his brother-in-law, who had allegedly lent him money for his wedding. However, UK Border Agency described his claims as “unbelievable”. In August 2011, a judge upheld an application for the forfeiture of the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Dogus founded the Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS), a non-partisan thinktank aiming "to build bridges between the UK and Turkey and the region." It also organises the British Kebab Awards, which aim to promote cross-community dialogue as well as the Kurdish-dominated kebab industry: "Greeks, Cypriots, Turks, Kurds, they all sit together side by side. They eat and they talk." The British Kebab Awards have been presented by several prominent figures including Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan, Dan Carden, Joan Ryan, Angela Rayner and Tim Roache and have been sponsored by Just Eat. Dogus is also chairman of the British Takeaway Campaign. He is also founder of the Centre for Kurdish Progress.
Dogus' connection with the Labour Party goes back to age 16, when he was invited by a teacher to address an NUT meeting, to talk about Kurdish human rights.[better source needed] His local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, was the other speaker, and Dogus began campaigning for him.[better source needed] Dogus became a commentator on Turkish, Kurdish and UK politics. and became an activist on Turkish and Kurdish politics in the early 2000s.
Dogus was the parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency in the June 2017 UK general election, having previously stood unsuccessfully for selection in Enfield Southgate in 2014. He gained a 9.25% swing for Labour, in line with the national average, and came second with 14,857 votes (38.4%). The following year he was elected as a member of Lambeth London Borough Council for the Bishop's ward, and in May 2018 he was selected by Labour to be the next deputy mayor of the borough, becoming Mayor in April 2019.
Dogus supported Yvette Cooper in the 2015 Labour Leadership election, helping to raise £2,200 for her campaign Dogus hosted a fundraiser for Owen Smith at one of his restaurants during the 2016 Labour Leadership election. Jeremy Corbyn celebrated his victory in the same place.
In October 2019, Dogus was shortlisted to be the Labour candidate for the seat of Vauxhall in South London, losing out to Florence Eshalomi. In November 2019, Dogus was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for West Bromwich East following the decision by the incumbent MP and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, to resign at the 2019 general election. He lost the seat to the Conservative candidate, Nicola Richards following a 12% swing toward the Conservatives.
- "Ibrahim DOGUS - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- Wynne Jones, Ros (12 September 2019), "Refugee turned mayor opens pay-it-forward cafe to help homeless and struggling families", The Mirror.
- Katie, O'Malley (23 January 2019). "WESTMINSTER RESTAURANT OWNER WON'T REMOVE ANTI-BREXIT MESSAGE ON RECEIPTS DESPITE DEATH THREATS". The Independent. Retrieved 21 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- Rodgers, Sienna (9 November 2019). "Ibrahim Dogus replaces Tom Watson as Labour's West Bromwich East candidate". LabourList. Retrieved 9 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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