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Britain elects its very first MP of Palestinian heritage

June 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm

British MP Layla Moran delivering a speech in London, UK on 22 September 2012 [Liberal Democrats/Flickr]

Britain elected its first MP of Palestinian heritage in yesterday’s general election. Layla Moran overturned a Conservative majority of almost 10,000 votes to win the Oxford West and Abingdon. Moran won the closely contested election by only 816, gaining 26,252 votes.

Moran was the only MP to overturn a seat in her county; the county’s other five seats remained as they were.

Before the election, Moran spoke about her Palestinian origin saying:

My Palestinian background has made me interested at a global level. Politics was always at the dinner table, it primed me to engage.

Moran is born to a British father and a Palestinian mother from Jerusalem, a fact which fills her with pride.

“De facto, I will be a representative of our community in parliament, and it will be a great honour which I take humbly,” she told The New Arab.

Read: British politics in ferment as exit poll shows May failing to win majority

In her interview with the Arab news agency, she said that her international upbringing has had a profound influence on her politics. She grew up in Belgium, Greece, Ethiopia, and Jordan as a result of her father’s career as an international diplomat, Moran speaks French, Arabic, Spanish and some Greek.

Moran mentioned that her worldview of tolerance and diversity found a natural home in the Liberal Democrats, and also an unbroken thread running throughout her family history.


Moran’s great-grandfather, Wasif Jawhariyyeh, wrote extensive memoirs about Palestinian life under Ottoman and British rule, before fleeing after the State of Israel was created.