There’s much to be pleased about regarding the results of yesterday’s snap election in the UK: the vindication of Jeremy Corbyn, the humiliation of a particularly smug conservative party under Theresa May and the crushing defeat of UKIP.
But in all of the ruckus came this important moment: the election of the UK’s first MP of Palestinian descent, Layla Moran. (The fact that the MP is a woman is even more reason to celebrate.) Moran, at just 34, stole the Oxford West and Abingdon seat from the Tories with a swing of about 15 percent. According to the BBC, she overturned a conservative majority of almost 10,000 votes to win the seat. A physics teacher by profession with a master’s degree in comparative education, Moran ran with the Liberal Democrats. Her father is British while her mother is Palestinian from Jerusalem.
In her campaign, Moran pledged to work on fairer taxes, environmental issues, better transport, scientific innovation and empowering local businesses. The MP this week said in an interview with the New Arab that her Palestinian background piqued her interest in global politics. “Politics was always at the dinner table, it primed me to engage,” she said. “De facto, I will be a representative of our community in parliament, and it will be a great honour which I take humbly.” According to the New Arab, Moran’s great-grandfather, who fled Palestine after the state of Israel was created, extensively documented life under Ottoman and British rule.
Moran said in the interview that she was troubled by Theresa May’s “cozying up” to Donald Trump, the government’s flawed Prevent strategy and the lack of international focus in the election. The Liberal Democrats had pledged to bring 50,000 Syrian refugees into the UK. Moran is also the first female LibDem MP of a minority background.