Visible Women

MP cheered as she becomes first Muslim woman minister to speak in Commons

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Moya Crockett
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“I’m excited to meet head on the opportunities and challenges that this new role this will bring.”

Nus Ghani has called on young people of all backgrounds to aspire to a career in politics, as she became the first Muslim woman to speak at the dispatch box in the House of Commons.

The Conservative MP for Wealden in East Sussex was recently made parliamentary undersecretary at the Department of Transport in Prime Minister Theresa May’s reshuffle. She was cheered as she stood in the Commons to address questions about station access for disabled people. 

This was an “important moment,” Ghani said, according to Sky News. “As many people know, this year is also a significant milestone in this country, as 2018 marks 100 years of votes for women.

“I hope that today, young people can see that regardless of their background, heritage or faith, there will be a warm welcome on the green benches – and no matter where you are from, you can achieve your dreams and ambitions.”

She added that the Department of Transport was “working hard to encourage more diversity in the transport sector”, and said that she was “excited to meet head on the opportunities and challenges that this new role this will bring”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that Ghani’s promotion was evidence that the Conservatives “were a party of opportunity”, BBC News reports.

“I congratulate her,” he said. “I’m very proud to sit alongside her.”

Ghani was born in Birmingham, the children of parents from Kashmir in Pakistan. Before becoming an MP in 2015, she worked in the charity sector and then for the BBC World Service.

On Twitter, the Women’s Equality Party congratulated Ghani on making history – but observed that UK politics is still troublingly lacking in diversity. 

Stylist’s Visible Women campaign aims to raise the profiles of women in politics – and inspire future generations to follow their lead. Find out more about the campaign here, and see more Visible Women stories here

Image: Rex Features