AN ousted South Tyneside councillor is launching a political comeback by standing as the next MP for South Shields.
Ahmed Khan lost his seat as an independent on South Tyneside Council last year after losing out to Labour’s John Anglin in a contest for the Beacon and Bents ward.
However, the 52-year-old is throwing his hat into the ring to replace the departing David Miliband in next month’s by-election.
And he says he will be fighting his campaign on local issues that matter to townsfolk.
Mr Khan, who owns the Workwear and Schoolwear business in Westoe, said: “Over the last couple of weeks I have read various biographies from the other candidates who are trying to claim a link to the town.
“It’s been everything to being born here, visiting the seaside as a kid, or planning to move here if elected.
“Well over 20 years ago I actively chose South Shields as a place to live, I brought my family here and I work here.
“I know first-hand what people of this town need, I’m not an outsider who is milking every tenuous link to the town to win a vote.
Mr Khan, who lives at the Lawe Top, with his wife Maureen, 47, is standing as an independent as he doesn’t want to have to conform to party decisions. He has vowed to have an office, which the public can access seven days a week, hold fortnightly surgeries and go on monthly walkabouts.
He says every six months he will also produce a newsletter to show what he’s been up too, his attendance records and any expenses claimed.
If he is voted in, Mr Khan, wants car parking charges to be scrapped in South Shields town centre – as they are in Jarrow and Hebburn.
He also wants public sector organisations, including the council, to do more to employ local people.
Mr Khan, father of primary school teacher Laura, 23, wants to see an improvement in youth opportunities – and apprenticeships being paid-for placements not free labour.
He said: “I am under no illusion that this is a safe Labour seat, but Labour has been in control of this town for decades, and really where has that got the people of Shields?
“The town centre is dead, there are very few jobs, the youths have little prospects. We need to change this.
“I believe that if people vote for me they will start to see these changes.
“I am willing to fight their corner and I’m not afraid of speaking up to make myself heard.”
Anyone who wants to help with Mr Khan’s campaign can call 07811 329 504 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org