Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

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Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.png
SNP Spokesperson for International Trade
In office
13 May 2015 – 8 June 2017
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byHannah Bardell
Member of Parliament
for Ochil and South Perthshire
In office
7 May 2015 – 3 May 2017
Preceded byGordon Banks
Succeeded byLuke Graham
Personal details
Tasmina Andalib Rizvi

(1970-10-05) 5 October 1970 (age 49)
London, England, UK
Political partyConservative (Before 2000)
Labour (2000)
Scottish National Party (2000–present)
Spouse(s)Zulfikar Sheikh
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
University of Strathclyde

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE WS NP (born 5 October 1970) is a Scottish politician. She was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Ochil and South Perthshire in May 2015, and has served as the Scottish National Party Trade and Investment spokesperson, Deputy Shadow Leader of the House in the House of Commons, and the SNP's National Women's and Equalities Convener. She was defeated at the 2017 United Kingdom general election. A solicitor and businessperson, and a former actress, Ahmed-Sheikh founded and formerly chaired the Scottish Asian Women's Association.

Early life and education[edit]

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh was born in Chelsea, London in 1970, and raised in Edinburgh. Her mother is a half-Welsh, half-Czech actress who performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company;[1][2] her father, of Pakistani origin, was the first councillor of Asian background elected in Scotland—in 1986 for the New Town/Stockbridge ward on Lothian Regional Council, representing the Conservative Party.[3][4] Ahmed-Sheikh was educated at Craigmount High School, George Heriot's School in Edinburgh, the University of Edinburgh (MA) and the University of Strathclyde (LLB & Postgraduate Diploma in Law).[5]

Acting career[edit]

After graduating in law, Ahmed-Sheikh decided to try acting. Playing parts in drama serials, she starred in the Pakistani drama series Des Pardes and also produced and appeared in The Castle: Aik Umeed. These led to a series of local modelling shoots, and starring in a drama Ansoo playing the role of Emotional girl Imaan, produced by her husband Zulfikar Sheikh, who also worked in drama as Dr Aryan.[6]

Legal career[edit]

Ahmed-Sheikh decided to concentrate on her legal career, her family and politics instead of acting[6] and was a partner at the Glasgow law firm Hamilton Burns, specialising in commercial conveyancing and private client work, often with a family law or immigration element.[7]

On 15 January 2019, she was found guilty of professional misconduct by a Law Society Tribunal and fined £3000.[8]

Political career[edit]

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh was active in the Scottish Conservative Party from the age of 10 and a member from 16.[9] She was chairperson of Edinburgh Central Young Conservatives and deputy spokeswoman for the party on women and family issues and equal opportunities.[10] She stood as the party's candidate in Glasgow Govan in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election,[10] where she came in third place with 2,343 votes (8.88%).

In 2000, she resigned from the Conservatives in response to William Hague's "right wing" pronouncements on asylum seekers.[11] She briefly joined the Labour Party before declaring that she would join the Scottish National Party, and was welcomed as a 'defector'. Alex Salmond said he was "glad she had joined the party".[12]

In July 2012, she joined the Advisory Board of Yes Scotland, the cross-party campaign for Scottish independence ahead of the upcoming referendum.[13]

In May 2014 she was the third candidate on the SNP's list for the European Parliament election,[14] but was unsuccessful in winning a seat.[15]

In the 2015 general election she was elected to the UK Parliament in the Ochil and South Perthshire constituency, earning 46% of the vote as the SNP took the seat from Labour incumbent Gordon Banks.[16] However she lost the seat at the following 2017 general election to Luke Graham of the Scottish Conservative Party.[17]

In 2019 it was reported that The SNP declined her application to stand in the upcoming European Parliament elections of that year.[18]

Charity work[edit]

Ahmed-Sheikh is the founder and chair of the Scottish Asian Women's Association (SAWA). The official launch of SAWA was on 19 April 2012 and the Scottish government provided support at a launch event at Stirling Castle, to the equivalent of around £16,000.[19] Ahmed-Sheikh resigned as a trustee of SAWA after her election as a MP in 2015.[20]

In January 2016, The Herald reported that during the period Ahmed-Sheikh was chair, only a small proportion (3%) of the SAWA's income had been donated to charitable causes.[20] It was reported in May 2017, that the Law Society of Scotland is investigating "administrative matters" which relate her period as a solicitor and alleged "financial impropriety involving a trust fund set up to help a vulnerable person". Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister and SNP leader, is standing by Ahmed-Sheikh who has faced calls for her to be suspended from the party.[21][22]

Professional misconduct disciplinary case[edit]

In January 2019 Ahmed-Sheikh was fined £3,000 by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal for professional misconduct.[8] The Tribunal found that Ahmed-Sheikh and fellow solicitor Alan Mickel had shown "disregard for the rules" in running a trust and had a conflict of interest when they borrowed money from it. In addition to their fines, the pair also had to pay the expenses of the Law Society.[23]

Media work[edit]

Ahmed-Sheikh is co-owner, along with Alex Salmond, of Slainte Media, a production company which is behind The Alex Salmond Show, and regularly co-hosts the programme on the Russia Today.[24][25]

Personal life[edit]

A Muslim, Ahmed-Sheikh is married to Zulfiqar Sheikh and they have four children—Elysée, Saif, Shansee, Vaneesee.[26] She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to business and to the Asian community in Scotland.[27] She speaks English, French and Urdu.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Brooks, Libby (4 May 1999). "The unlikely lassie". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  2. ^ Mcleod, Kayleigh (6 June 2013). "Bollywood actress hopes to land dream role in European Parliament". STV News. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Leith mixes an explosive cocktail". HeraldScotland. Herald & Times Group. 16 December 1991. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Electing to put soap on the ropes Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has abandoned her acting career in Pakistan to fight for a seat in the Scottish Parliament". HeraldScotland. Herald & Times Group. 23 February 1999. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  5. ^ David Leask (1 June 2015). "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". HeraldScotland. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Pakistani drama serial actress Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh contesting UK election". Ary News. 7 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Scots Asians For YES to an Independent Scotland". Scots Asians 4 Yes. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014 – via Wordpress.
  8. ^ a b "Ex-SNP MP fined for professional misconduct". BBC News. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  9. ^ Britten, Nick (16 June 2000). "Defector to SNP 'is political butterfly'". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Tory defects to SNP". BBC News. 14 June 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Tory defector blames Hague". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Tory defector held Labour card". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Scottish independence: Yes campaign board announced". BBC News. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Scots likely to vote Yes if they think Tories will win UK election". STV News. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  15. ^ Gordon, Tom (14 July 2013). "SNP split over candidates for Euro election". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Ochil & South Perthshire Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  17. ^ https://www.alloaadvertiser.com/news/15338029.conservative-luke-graham-takes-the-seat-for-ochil-and-south-perthshire/
  18. ^ Kieran Andrews (20 April 2019). "Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh's bid to run in European elections is rejected". The Times. Times Newspapers.
  19. ^ Gordon, Tom (2 May 2013). "Claims of SNP cronyism after charity handed public support". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  20. ^ a b Gordon, Tom (13 January 2016). "SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh facing questions after charity she founded donates less than 3% of income to good causes". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  21. ^ Gourtsoyannis, Paris (17 May 2017). "Nicola Sturgeon backs under fire Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh". The Scotsman. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  22. ^ Cramb, Auslan (17 May 2017). "Nicola Sturgeon backs Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh amid renewed calls for her suspension". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh guilty of professional misconduct". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 15 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Slainte Media Limited". Open Corporates. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  25. ^ Nicola Sturgeon questions Alex Salmond's choice of Russian TV channel BBC News, 10 November 2017 Archived from the original on 11 November 2017; Retrieved 11 November 2017
  26. ^ Johnston, Clare (2 July 2013). "Bollywood star and SNP political hopeful Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh reveals joys of Ramadan fasting". Daily Record. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  27. ^ "New Year Honours 2014: list in full". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gordon Banks
Member of Parliament
for Ochil and South Perthshire

Succeeded by
Luke Graham