Rushanara Ali is the Labour Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow. She was elected in May 2010 with a majority of 11,574 having defeated George Galloway’s Respect Party. She was reelected in 2015 with an increased majority of 24,317.
In October 2013 Rushanara was appointed Shadow Minster for Education and young People, until stepping down in September 2014. Previously she served on the Labour front bench as Shadow Minister for International Development. As part of this role she was the Labour spokesperson on international development matters for Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, International Finance and Trade Wealth Creation and the Private Sector, Gender, Climate Change, Conflict and stabilisation, and the Middle East Peace Process.
Prior to her election in May 2010, she was Associate Director of the Young Foundation. She previously worked at the Communities Directorate of the Home Office, leading a work programme in response to the 2001 disturbances in the north of England (2002-2005). She has also worked on human rights issues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2000-2001); as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (1999-2002) and as Parliamentary Assistant for Oona King, former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow (1997-1999).
Rushanara also worked for Michael Young (author of the 1945 Labour manifesto) on a project that paved the way for Tower Hamlets Summer University, now called Futureversity, which has helped cut youth crime in Tower Hamlets and which has been replicated around London.
She helped develop Language Line, a pioneering telephone interpreting company founded by Michael Young to ensure equal access to public services for people facing language difficulties. She is co-founder of the UpRising leadership project which works to develop community and public leadership skills of talented 19-25 year olds from diverse backgrounds to enter politics and public life.
She also founded the Fastlaners project which provides rapid and intensive training to support unemployed graduates in East London. She has previously served as a Commissioner for the London Child Poverty Commission, Chair of Trustees of Futureversity, a Board Member of Tower Hamlets College, a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and an advisor to the Spitalfields Festival.