Voters in next month’s council election will be confronted by a host of new names – but none with a more fascinating story than the Liberal Democrat candidate for Efford.
Rafiqul Haque grew up in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and came to the UK on a family holiday aged 14.
While they were here their home country elected a new government and their citizenship was revoked, rendering them effectively stateless.
Their application for asylum was rejected and they packed their bags to leave – but Rafiqul says the authorities lost their passports.
“We were scheduled to travel back, but while we were waiting to board our flight the Home Office failed to produce any valid travel documents to the airline, who in turn refused our travel,” he says.
The family were sent to Manchester as “failed asylum seekers” and granted leave to remain three years later.
“I still don’t know the reason,” Rafiqul says…
Rafiqul came to Plymouth aged 20 to study for a degree in civil and coastal engineering.
Now 28, he works as a graduate civil engineer for a city consulting firm and volunteers as a community youth worker.
On May 5 his name will be on ballot paper in Efford and Lipson as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Plymouth City Council.
He says he decided to run in order to give something back to the city he now calls home.
“I am honest, hard working and professional – but more importantly not alone,” he says.
“I am part of a party which works together for people and is always willing to give a helping hand.” [Plymouth Herald]