I believe in opportunity
I came to the United Kingdom when I was eight years-old. My father came to work in the wood mills in 1960s Bradford.
It wasn’t easy but we stuck together as a family and went out of our way to reach out to our British neighbours.
After university, I started out by working in my father’s fabric company, but ended up really cutting my teeth in the restaurant trade.
I opened my first one in 1979 and over the next thirty-five years built up a catering business with my sons.
Having started from scratch on more than one occasion, I have always been aware of the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs; there is uncertainty in the best of times and bureaucracy can be both confusing and frustrating.
Seeing opportunities for growing business hampered needlessly because of arcane EU regulations was what drew me to politics. I want to change things and since I was elected to the European Parliament in 2014, I have engaged with my colleagues in order to limit potentially damaging EU legislation at every opportunity. On the Employment and Social Affairs Committee I am doing my best to champion small businesses. I’m committed to reducing burdensome regulation in order to help create a stimulating environment for businesses and start-ups.
I believe in Britain
In the Foreign Affairs committee, I have focused on ensuring that the merits of British diplomacy are recognised at the European level.
Our history and experience stand out from the rest of Europe and we should keep it that way.
Unfortunately, many federalists, in their desire for, “ever closer union”, want the EU to meddle in ways that are completely unnecessary.
Instead, whenever possible, I’ve called for the EU to adopt a pragmatic approach that focuses on where it can perhaps be more useful, such as pursuing trade liberalisation.
Opening and creating links with markets abroad, from the United States to Malaysia to Japan is what will really help to promote wealth and prosperity, both at home and away.
I believe in dialogue
I abhor all forms of extremism and am firmly convinced that dialogue is what will help us isolate criminals who are trying to tear communities and each other apart.
To this end, I’ve worked tirelessly to improve interfaith relations through organisations such as Minhaj ul Quran International and Canon Yaqoob Masih.