Local Election results 2021: How did other notable candidates fare?


The local elections saw strong OBV participation across the country. There were other notable victories for candidates from minority backgrounds in the UK. Here are some of the highlights.

Cllr Shaz Nawaz

Another Pathway to Success alumni, Shaz Nawaz, was most recently seen in OBV circles last August. He was offering his expertise to the 2020 Birmingham Civic Leadership Programme. Having originally won election in 2017, he has been re-elected as Councillor for Park Ward, Peterborough. Nawaz fought off stiff competition from former Peterborough Mayor and Conservative candidate John Peach to take the victory. Although the outcome of the vote has left the borough with no clear majority, he remains Labour group leader within the council.

Harini Iyengar

Harini was a member of the 2019 MP Shadowing Programme featuring alumni such as Sophie Simpson, the co-founder of Conscious Youth, and Shereen Daniels, the HR Specialist. Though a barrister by trade, Harini’s campaign work around gender equality has seen her take a leading role in the Women’s Equality Party (WEP). She stood as the party’s lead candidate for the London Assembly. In the lead up to the election, she reaffirmed that the party’s presence in the GLA would be crucial to making sure equality for women was “designed into everything the mayor plans for the city”. Though a seat on the Assembly escaped her on this occasion, we expect to be seeing and hearing a lot more from Harini as the party looks to raise its profile.

Cllr Hina Bokhari

Hina is a long-time friend of OBV and highly thought of by OBV leadership. She was elected as a Councillor in Merton back in 2018 and has been touted as a potential London Assembly member ever since. The high billing and promise of more came true in this election. She was second on the Liberal Democrats’ list for the 2021 London Assembly elections behind Caroline Pidgeon. With 94,761 votes, she became the joint first Muslim woman elected to the Assembly with Marina Ahmad and Sakina Sheikh.

Mayor Marvin Rees

Further away from London, Marvin Rees was given a renewed mandate to lead by the people of Bristol. He took 50,510 votes in the mayoral election, holding off the challenge of Green Party candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven who received 36,331. As OBV CEO Lord Woolley has mentioned many times before, the continued success of Marvin Rees is especially symbolic given the city’s former links to the transatlantic slave trade.

Cllr Marina Ahmad

Marina Ahmad joined Hina Bokhari, and Sakina Sheikh in becoming the first Muslim woman elected to the Assembly. She was chosen as the Southwark and Lambeth GLA candidate for May’s City Hall elections back in February, replacing Florence Eshalomi who became MP for Vauxhall in 2019. On Friday, her election as the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark was confirmed. It was a resounding victory, with 91,949 votes, almost 60,000 clear of the next closest candidate, Claire Sheppard, of the Green party - she received 36,933 votes.

Accomplishments Elsewhere

Other highlights include the election of Joanne Anderson as the Mayor of Liverpool. Both online and in the city itself, she has received a plethora of well-wishes for her historic victory.  

In Scotland, a significant milestone was reached. Two women from minority ethnic backgrounds in the country were finally elected - Kaukab Stewart of the SNP and Pam Gosal MSP of the Scottish Conservatives. They’ve both expressed their eagerness to take on the challenge and lead in what is the most diverse parliament in the country’s history. The fact that they are joined by only five other candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds in the country shows that there is still a long way to go. Campaigners and activists will now hope that the upward trend in Holyrood representation can be sustained, if not accelerated.

The most remarkable story however goes to the Khan family in Chorley. The Lancashire towns former Mayor Hasina Khan was elected in the Chorley East Ward - but she was not alone. Zara Khan, her daughter, was also elected in the same ward. Against all odds, they were joined by Zara's brother, Samir, who was elected to represent the Chorley South East and Heath Charnock ward at only 25.

Mayowa Ayodele


A call to action...

For nearly 25 years OBV have fought to ensure Black and minority ethnic participation and representation in civic society. Efforts in continuing to do so though, relies on your help. That way we can continue this fight for greater race equality. What would give us a tremendous boost is if today, you made that small donation yourselves, but even more importantly if you encouraged others to do likewise.