20ish years later: Nash is ready to be the mayor of Camden all over again

He was the borough's first citizen in 2003 – a lot has happened since then

Thursday, 19th May — By Richard Osley


Nash [Nasim] was elected in Regent’s Park ward again this month, with Nadia Shah and Heather Johnson

HE was once the youngest mayor in the country, and the first to be born in Bangladesh – a milestone moment for a man who came to England as a child without knowing a word of English.

Now, fitting into his suits a little more comfortably and all of a sudden one of the seen-it-all statesmen of the council chamber, Nash Ali has been chosen to do it all over again.

The father-of-three held the role in 2003 when he was 34 after winning his Town Hall seat for the first time in Regent’s Park ward. Almost 20 years on, it was confirmed at the Labour group’s annual general meeting on Monday that he would step up for duty once again.

The New Journal revealed last month how the party was looking for an experienced head for the role after the normal succession was disrupted by deputy mayor Lorna Jane Russell’s defection from Labour to the Greens last autumn. She narrowly missed out on keeping her place on the council last week in Highgate ward.

Cllr Ali, who was awarded an OBE in 2010, said: “This is a tough time for so many people and I hope as mayor we can share some joy and promote some of the amazing charities and organisations in the borough.

“After 20 years on the council, it has been a time for me to reflect on everything that has happened: last time I was mayor, we met Nelson Mandela when he came to Camden, and my son Rio was in my ex-wife’s tummy.

“Now, he’s had an offer to go to Oxford University. I hope my son’s story shows how much can be done and how much Camden has to offer young people. It welcomed me and my family when we moved here and I was just seven.”

The choice will be confirmed at the annual mayor-making meeting on Wednesday when he succeeds Sabrina Francis, who has been raising money for the single parent support charity Gingerbread this year.

Cllr Ali’s official mayoral charity is set to be Hopscotch, the charity in Euston which has been helping victims of domestic abuse.

Councillors voted for Nazma Rahman to be Cllr Ali’s deputy. Cllr Ali said: “I think the diversity in the Labour group is a rich mix to celebrate – it shows, this is what Camden is about. “Sadly, I think there will always be racists out there but we are showing that we won’t let them win.”

Other decisions made at the Labour AGM saw Cllr Francis promoted to the cabinet, as was Marcus Boyland – the former chief whip. Confident new faces councillors Lloyd Hatton and Lotis Bautista – elected for the first time two weeks ago – will meanwhile take on the whip roles.

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