Zarah Sultana gave her first speech since being elected to the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The parliamentary constituency of Coventry South’s newly-elected Member of Parliament (MP) Zarah Sultana on Wednesday gave her maiden speech in the House of Commons.
In her self-titled ‘No Time For Despair Maiden Speech’, the MP highlighted her dedication to the issue of climate change and creating new green jobs, and her desire to “put the power in the hands of the working class to put people and planet first”, citing socialism as the solution.
The MP began her speech by giving thanks to her constituents, saying she is “truly honoured and humbled” to represent the people of Coventry South, then going on to thank her predecessor, Jim Cunningham, for his 27 years of service to the people of Coventry.
Miss Sultana put forward the notion that when renovations take place at the Palace of Westminster later this year, Parliament should temporarily relocate back to Coventry, as it was as far back as 1404, and in doing so put “power back in the Midlands”.
Considering MP’s maiden speeches are supposed to be “not politically contentious or critical”, according to the MPs’ Guide to Procedure, the speech was surprisingly yet refreshingly modern in its criticism of the government’s “rising rents, frozen wages and diminishing opportunities”.
Miss Sultana said to the House of Commons, “For my whole adult life, I have only known Tory Governments who wage war on working-class communities like mine, cutting our services, underfunding our schools and hospitals, and saddling me and my generation with tens of thousands of pounds of student debt.”
“The public libraries that allowed me to study and go to university are closed. The council houses that gave working-class families like mine access to safe, affordable homes have been sold off.
“While the vast majority have seen services cut and wages stagnate over the past decade, the super-rich have had their taxes cut and seen their incomes soar.”
The MP focused particularly on class inequalities in her first speech, saying that the “gap between the ruling class and the working class has widened and is widening still”.
In a controversial move for a maiden speech, Miss Sultana criticised the past writings of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying: “That is what is happening when they compare Muslim women to bank robbers, when they call gay men ‘tank-topped bum boys’, and when they blame events such as the Hillsborough disaster on drunken fans. They are pitting our communities against each other.”
In a play on words on a Conservative Party slogan, the MP added: “This is a Government of the few; they will never be for the many.”
One Twitter user branded the speech as ‘one of the best maiden speeches ever’, with many sharing the sentiments and praising the MP.
Watch Zarah Sultana’s full maiden speech below: