Rushanara Ali is the Labour member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow. She was first elected in May 2010 with a majority of 11,574, having defeated George Galloway’s Respect Party. Bethnal Green and Bow was one of four Labour gains in 2010. Rushanara was re-elected in 2015 doubling her majority to 24,317 and earning 61% of the share of the vote, and then subsequently re-elected in 2017 and 2019.
Rushanara grew up in her constituency attending Mulberry school and Tower Hamlets College. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University. Until her resignation from Labour’s front bench in September 2014 over her decision to abstain on the vote on airstrikes in Iraq, Rushanara served as Shadow Minister for Education and Young People, and between October 2010 and October 2013, as Shadow Minister for International Development. Rushanara has previously served as a member of the Treasury Select Committee, the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and the Communities and Local Government Select Committee. In October 2017 she rejoined the Treasury Select Committee.
Prior to her election in May 2010, she was Associate Director of the Young Foundation, where she co-founded UpRising, a national leadership development and employability charity which has helped thousands of young people develop their campaigning and leadership skills. Rushanara recently co-founded One Million Mentors, a national online platform to recruit, train and deploy one million mentors to organisations working with young people.
Rushanara also co-founded the Social Innovation Exchange social which works to connect innovators and social entrepreneurs around the world to collaborate to tackle major social problems. Rushanara also worked at the Communities Directorate of the Home Office, leading a programme of work to support local areas following the 2001 riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham; at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where she helped establish what became the Forced Marriage Unit; as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (1999-2002) working on anti-discrimination issues, and as Parliamentary Assistant for Oona King, former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow (1997-1999). She has also worked as a Research Assistant to Lord Young of Dartington (author of the 1945 Labour Party manifesto), helping him to set up Language Line, a national telephone interpreting company and Futureversity, a youth charity that has helped over 100,000 young people by raising aspirations, cutting youth crime and getting them into work.
Rushanara has previously served as a Commissioner on the London Child Poverty Commission; as a board member of Tower Hamlets College; as a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation; as a member of the Tate Britain Council and as a member of the Home Office Working Group on Preventing Extremism established after the 7/7 London bombings.
In April 2016 Rushanara was appointed as the Prime Minster's Trade Envoy to Bangladesh. This cross-party programme established in 2012 aims to build business and bilateral trade relationships and help drive economic growth in developing countries. Rushanara made her first visit as Trade Envoy to Bangladesh in December 2016.
- Sinking and Swimming: Understanding Britain's Unmet Needs
- Parties for the Public Good
- Life begins at 60: what kind of NHS after 2008?
- Turning the Corner: Beyond incarceration and re-offending
- Charm Offensive: Cultivating Civility in 21st Century Britain
- Our House? Race and Representation in British Politics (with Colm O’Cinneide, IPPR)
- Stuck on London's hard shoulder: Social needs in a fast moving city
- Cohesive Communities
- Seeing the wood for the trees - The evolving landscape for neighbourhood arrangements
- Social Silicon Valleys
- Cities in Transition: Global exchange forum report
- Taking the lead: Youth leadership in theory and practice
- Social Innovation: what it is, why it matters, how it can be accelerated
- In and out of sync: The challenge of growing social innovations