MP Rushanara Ali outlines new ministerial role

East End MP made first shadow ministerial appearance at House of Commons last week

RUSHANARA Ali, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, has spoken of her priorities for her new shadow ministerial role after making her first appearance at the House of Commons as part of Harriet Harman’s shadow international development team.

The MP joined Labour colleagues in questioning International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell prior to Prime Minister’s Question Time on October 13.

She said: “I’m very mindful that in terms of my constituents obviously there are areas like the Middle East which are of very high interest across the different communities.

“Everyone wants to see peace and a lasting settlement there.

“What Europe and the US do to support the aid effort there is an area of strong interest to me.”

Ms Ali previously worked on human rights policy at the Foreign Office and had a role on a UNICEF advisory group.

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She said: “I have an economics background so it will be a good opportunity to get into some of the issues around trade and investment which is actually one of the biggest areas where development can be aided.”

The Department for International Development’s overseas aid budget is protected from cuts in tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review, but cuts could be made to the department’s other costs.

Ms Ali said: “There is concern about how expenditure is redefined across departments.”