Muslim MP Rehman Chishti to run for Tory Party leadership

Rehman Chishti. Pic: UK Parliament

Tory MP Rehman Chishti has announced that he will run for the position of leader of the Conservative Party – the person who will become the next Prime Minister.

Chishti, 43, has been the MP for Gillingham and Rainham since 2010 but has little experience and a low public profile compared to other leadership contenders such as Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Liz Truss.

He tweeted this morning: : “I’m standing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister. For me it’s about aspirational conservatism, fresh ideas, fresh team for a fresh start taking our great country forward.”

During his video announcement for the leadership bid, Mr Chishti said that it was time for “a fresh start as we move forward.”

He added: “For me it’s important to make sure that everyone who works hard, is determined, who perseveres, that they have a Government who is on their side.

“That means lower taxes, small state big society and then means ensuring that you have fresh ideas and a proven track record of coming to the table with ideas and creativity to help improve people’s lives.

“This goes down to a fresh team with enthusiasm and a mind set for collaboration, innovation and partnership as we move forwards to deliver for our great country.”

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Chishti grew up in Gillingham. After completing a Law degree at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, he was called to the Bar of England and Wales at Lincoln’s Inn.

From September 2020 until May 2022 he was commissioned as a Reservist in the British Army.

He was the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief (September 2019 – September 2020); Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Communities (January 2018-November 2018); Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee (2017- 2019); Prime Minister’s UK Trade Envoy to Pakistan (2017-November 2018); and a Special Adviser to Benazir Bhutto (Former Prime Minister of Pakistan) (1999 – 2007).

On the vast majority of issues he has voted the same way as other Conservative MPs. However, he sometimes differs from their party colleagues, such as when he voted against allowing marriage between two people of same sex.

He has almost always voted for higher taxes on alcoholic drinks; consistently voted against greater regulation of gambling; voted against investigations into the Iraq war; and consistently voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas.

You can see his full voting record here.

On his website he says “he cares passionately about the community where he grew up” and that he “has completed 12 half-marathons raising money for local good causes and charities.”

Away from work, he says he enjoys going to the gym, running, watching Gillingham FC, playing cricket and squash, catching a movie and spending time with friends and family.

UPDATE: On July 12, Rehman Chishti’s Tory leadership bid ended two days after it started after he failed to secure a single supporter among fellow Conservative MPs. Chishti needed the support of at least 20 MPs to stand.

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