MAAJID Nawaz was busy, busy in Glasgow this week. The Liberal Democrat with the highest profile beyond Nick Clegg [I joked], he had a journalist on his arm at every turn. Everywhere you looked the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate was in demand. His crammed itinerary saw this conference squeezed in between a business trip to the US, advising the PM on the threat of ISIS and his wedding – also in the States – next week.
Through it all, he remains upbeat as can be about his chances in Hampstead and Kilburn next May, where the opinion polls are now pointing firmly to a Labour hold.
In the few minutes I had with him, he told me that he would not swap parties for electoral gain, because principles were too important to him. He reeled off a list of ambitions, which included constitutional reform and an elected second chamber. Here ears pricked up here, for it has been whispered once or twice that Maajid would one day be Lord Nawaz – a man considered too important within the party to be lost from politics should he lose in Hampstead. So, would he reject a gifted place on the red sofas?
For a man who can talk at a breathless speed, there was still only a flicker of hesitation. “That’s a really good question,” he then replied. “You know when I first went for Parliament, somebody in the Lords who has a lot of influence said ‘why don’t you wait and we’ll see whether we can get you in – no one can give it, but we’ll see if we can get you in. And I said: ‘I’m not too sure if that suits me’.
Again, I’m not going to make promises, but what I will say is that I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of appointed or life peerages. I hope in my lifetime f there is one thing that the liberal democrat party can achieve it’s constitutional reform.”