Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Seema Malhotra


FROM a young age, politics was always on the agenda for lawmaker Seema Malhotra.

Aged just 10, the Feltham and Heston MP stood as a Labour candidate in her primary school elections and reportedly argued for better pensions for the elderly. The experience must have had a lasting effect on a young Malhotra, as she went on to join the Labour party when she was 17.

Now acting as the shadow employment minister, Malhotra has come a long way since fighting for equality in her classroom.

She assumed office in the 2011 by-election as the Labour representative for Feltham and Heston with 12,639 votes. Almost a decade later, her popularity has not waned and the 48-year-old has been re-elected three times – in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

She is now two shy of her predecessor Alan Keen’s five constituency wins. While campaigning, Malhotra has said she enjoys meeting local residents on their doorstep and discussing their views. “Talking to people who don’t agree with me are some of the most enriching conversations,” she has said, following the 2019 general election. “You need the confidence to be prepared for whatever comes on the doorstep. People here generally share their views and they do so respectfully.”

She adds: “I think social media taking over is an incredibly dangerous step. People lose personal contact by communicating online; you don’t know whether you’re reading information or misinformation. There’s no substitute for good doorstep relationships and learning from people in those long conversations.”

Following Sir Keir Starmer’s take over as Labour leader last April, he soon selected Malhotra as shadow employment minister. The role has seen her draw attention to the impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on numerous industries. A conference focusing on the future of the UK’s aviation and transport industries was organised

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