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Ibby Mehmet running for both council and parliament in southeast London
A TURKISH Cypriot has been nominated as a Labour candidate for council and parliament in a leafy part of southeast London.
Ibrahim ‘Ibby’ Mehmet hopes to win one of the Conservative-held council seats in Colyers, close to the border with Kent, at local elections on 22 May.
But he is also the Labour candidate for the area’s UK parliament constituency, Old Bexley and Sidcup, a safe Conservative seat currently held by immigration minister James Brokenshire.
The 27-year-old law graduate and political consultant has spent the last few weeks knocking on doors around his prospective ward.
“People in Colyers want to fight for their services,” Mr Mehmet told Londra Gazete. “They’re most concerned about local issues – like schooling and bin collections.
He said the Conservative-run council financial trouble’s could mean voters turning to Labour: “Bexley council is going into a huge deficit.They need to find £40m over the next two years.”
He admits winning the Old Bexley and Sidcup parliamentary seat will be “a huge challenge” but is adamant that it is possible: “if UKIP does split the vote and we can convince enough disenfranchised Lib Dem voters to join us, then it could work.”
Mr Mehmet’s grandfather Ramadan dede fought for the Allies in Greece during the Second World War, but when fighting broke out in Cyprus in 1974 he became, as a resident of Paphos, a Greek prisoner of war.
The family moved to the UK after the Cypriot war, where his parents met. Mr Mehmet himself is UK-born, but retains strong ties to Turkish Cyprus.
“My parents sent me to Turkish school from a young age and we would go to Cyprus every summer,” he said, adding that he fully supports Cypriot reunification.
“I think it’s possible to be proud of your heritage without being nationalistic.”