Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to travel to the Rugby Constituency to meet and canvas with local Labour Party members and workers, and to campaign in support of council by-election candidate Beck Hemsley and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Rugby, Deb Bannigan.
During a highly enjoyable visit, I joined Beck, who is campaigning to become Rugby’s first non-binary councillor, on the doorsteps in the Rokeby and Overslade Ward, listening to residents’ concerns and offering support and solutions where possible.
I then travelled with Deb to the fantastic Rugby West Indian Community Centre in the centre of Rugby to meet constituents and supporters for a rousing evening for a speech and a question and answer session.
Earlier, I met former Mayor and councillor James Shera MBE. In April 2017, James was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Rugby with the borough recognising his outstanding contribution to interfaith and race relations. James represented the Benn Ward for a record ten- consecutive occasions. He became the first Pakistani to be elected Mayor of Rugby and went on to become one of the first recipients of the Star of Pakistan for his services to the community and interfaith relations in 1992.
I was really inspired by my visit. It is clear that Rugby is blessed with some very active and devoted Labour Party members and I would like to thank them for their kindness and hospitality.
It was an honour to meet James and listen to the wonderful stories he had to tell. My best wishes go out to Beck Hemsley who will make an excellent councillor, and to Deb Bannigan for organising everything. I know she will make an excellent Member of Parliament for Rugby if elected at the next election, which is likely to be just around the corner.