Wakefield representative Imran Ahmad-Khan has told of his pleasure at being part of “a vibrant and dynamic pack of Yorkshire MPs” as he made his maiden speech in Parliament.
Mr Ahmad-Khan took the seat from Labour’s Mary Creagh in last month’s General Election, and during his speech he paid tribute to her 14-year tenure, and called her a “calm, concise, and experienced advocate” and spoke of the “affection that many constituents in Wakefield have for her”.
He said: “I would also like to pay special tribute to Mary's time and contribution whilst working in overseas aid and development. This resonates with me a lot due to my previous work at the United Nations and elsewhere abroad.
“Our overseas aid and development is testament to British compassion, and it can be leveraged as a powerful agent for and a real measure of Britain's reach and influence around the world.
“Mary was a public servant, and I hope she's able to continue her work in other places. Wakefield was fortunate to have had such a worthy Member of Parliament.”
After outlining the history of Wakefield, Mr Ahmad-Khan turned to some of the city’s modern day issues, linking his point with famous names from Wakefield including John Radcliffe, who founded the Radcliffe library in Oxford, and Richard Fleming, founder of Lincoln College, Oxford.
He said: “Wakefield has a link to education. It is on this point I wish to highlight a large number of young people in my constituency for whom equality of opportunity needs to be made real, more than just fine-sounding words.
“There were still too many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in low employment, education or training. I look forward to working with Her Majesty's dynamic Government - and whenever they are willing the benches opposite - to support the creation of new jobs and opportunities to improve the lives of people who deserve more attention and greater fairness than they have had in the past.”
Pivoting to issues outside of Wakefield and Yorkshire, Mr Ahmad-Khan put his faith in the Government and called for more patriotism.
He said: “I see perhaps more clearly than most the deep and enduring importance of core British values such as compassion, tolerance and fairness, especially at a time when those values are perceived as under threat in many parts of our world.
“We must continue to be a beacon of thoughtful, respected and innovative thinking, born of years of accumulated learning and practice.”