Enfield councillor is shortlisted for Edmonton Labour nomination alongside party executive and former mayor
By Michael Daventry
The only Turkish-speaking candidate left in the race for one of London’s safest parliamentary seats has called on the community to unite behind her.
Enfield councillor Ayfer Orhan was this week shortlisted to become the Labour Party candidate in Edmonton, where sitting MP Andy Love is stepping down.
She told Londra Gazete she held the best opportunity in 60 years to send a Turkish-speaking parliamentarian to Westminster and that the communities had to “stop bickering among ourselves because actually we are all one family”.
She said: “We all come from the same cultural root. We all made the same journeys from Cyprus or Turkey, desperate to improve our lives.
“My father came here with £53 in his pocket. Our parents all worked hard in grisly jobs and sweat shops.
“So many of our elderly are now suffering from chronic illnesses, but they worked hard to give their children advantages.
Ms Orhan was picked alongside former Enfield mayor Kate Anolue and Kate Osamor, a GP practice manager and prominent trade unionist, in an all-woman, all-minority shortlist.
They will be selected by the 380 Labour Party members living in Edmonton at a meeting on Saturday 21 February.
As Mr Love held the seat with a majority of nearly 10,000 at the last election in 2010, the Labour nominee will be widely considered to be Edmonton’s next MP-in-waiting.
Ms Orhan said her nomination could be as important a moment as when Bernie Grant and Diane Abbott were elected as the first black parliamentary MPs in 1987.
“Finally, after sixty years of waiting, there is a huge opportunity to support the first Turkish-speaking candidate too,” she said.
“This is an ideal opportunity to break that glass ceiling and get a Turkish-speaking parliamentarian.
“We have to stop bickering among ourselves because actually we are all one family.”