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Posted at: Apr 20, 2015, 12:58 AM; last updated: Apr 20, 2015, 12:54 AM (IST)SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE: SHYAM BHATIA IN LONDON

B’desh PM’s niece on verge of becoming British MP

The niece and granddaughter of two Bangladeshi Prime Ministers has edged closer to becoming a member of the British Parliament.

Tulip Siddiq, aged 32, is defending the marginal seat of Hampstead and Kilburn on behalf of the Labour Party in next month's General Election.
The outgoing Labour MP is actress Glenda Jackson who managed to retain the seat with a wafer thin majority of 42 in the 2010 elections.

Until recently this constituency combining huge wealth and grinding poverty was a three-way contest between Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

But last week the Liberal Democrat candidate Maajid Nawaz, a married man and head of the anti extremist foundation Quilliam, was caught up in a scandal when he was filmed at a strip club with a naked lap dancer. He was said to have been drinking heavily and was caught on a CCTV trying to touch the dancer during a private lap dance.

The owner of the club, Abdul Malik, said he wanted the film footage of Nawaz be made public because "He's always talking about religion on TV and I thought what a hypocrite."

The Nawaz scandal means the fight over Hampstead has effectively become a straightforward two-party fight between the Labour and Conservative parties. 

The Conservative candidate is a small businessman and Jew who hopes for the support of the local Jewish community. 

London-born Ms Siddiq, on the other hand, is a former local councillor with a record of working for Amnesty International, as well as charities like Save the Children. One of eight British citizens of Bangladeshi origin running for Parliament, she also says she doesn't care about rival Nawaz visiting a strip club.

Although Siddiq presents herself as a woman of the people, she herself has had something of an unusual or even privileged background. Husband and company director Christian William St John Percy is described as a Mandarin speaking strategy consultant with a background in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Her mother's sister is Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, who once invited Siddiq to accompany her to a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Her maternal grandfather was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and the country's first PM. "It sounds boastful to say 'I come from a family of prime ministers', she said in a recent interview. "And l am trying to make it on my own."


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