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The Tab meets Nadia Whittome, hopeful Labour candidate for Nottingham East

We meet the 23 year old former Notts uni student who’s standing for election in Nottingham

Nadia Whittome is a former student at the University of Nottingham who is standing as the Labour candidate in Nottingham East. She previously studied Law at University, whilst also working part-time in the care system. She has been at the forefront of several campaigns both locally and nationally. Notably being part of the campaign to bring the living wage to workers on campus and organised the first Deliveroo riders strike in the city.

Hi, who are you, where are you from?

I’m Nadia Whittome, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Nottingham East. I’m Nottingham born and bred, living in the Meadows, but I’ve lived all over – in West Bridgford and Top Valley too.

At 23, you’re considerably younger than most MPs. Can you see arguments why your age may be a hindrance in your role, how would you counter this argument?

Mhairi Black showed us in 2015 that young MPs can fiercely represent constituents as well as driving change on the national stage. Since then, young people have been the force behind global movements for change: from climate strikers, to AOC in the states, to 24-year-old Ali Milani set to oust Boris Johnson in Uxbridge.

I have a strong record of political experience both locally and nationally, and plenty of life experience: as a care worker, growing up in a single parent household with lodgers coming and going to pay the bills, doing an Access course, and being saddled with thousands of pounds of debt already. This is the experience shared by so many, but unrepresented in Parliament.

If elected, I’d likely be the youngest MP and also Nottingham’s first BAME MP. I’m looking forward to using my platform, as I do already, to connect with disenfranchised young people, especially young people of colour, and amplify their voices.

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of fostering an environment which allows anti-semitism. Do you feel it’s acceptable to endorse a leader who encourages this type of rhetoric?

If I thought Jeremy Corbyn was anti-semitic or tolerant of anti-semitism, or that the Labour Party was institutionally anti-semitic, I would not be a member.

There is a real problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party, and in wider society. This has been used cynically by the right-wing press, whilst they ignore rampant islamophobia in the Tory Party. But, and here’s the critical point, this does not mean that the problem is not real and it must not undermine our fight to tackle anti-semitism. I am utterly committed to rooting out anti-semitism, through political education and expulsions where necessary.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Being part of the team that wrote and won Labour’s conference-decided immigration policy, the most radical in UK history: to close all detention centres, scrap NRPF (which sees migrants made destitute), give all UK residents the vote, and to keep existing free movement and extend it. This is huge for working class people, no matter where they come from.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years time?

I’m pledging to stand for open selection before every general election, so Labour members in Nottingham can decide whether they want to put me forward again to be their next Labour MP. So where I am in 20 years is in the hands of my local party!

You’ve previously worked in the care system, do you think that impacted how you see society and our welfare system?

I’ve always been acutely aware from personal experience and that of my family and friends, that welfare cuts and public sector cuts are destroying lives and communities.

It’s a privilege to be let into people’s homes and care for them and facilitate them living their fullest lives. But you also see very intimately the impact of NHS, social care, mental health, and welfare cuts at every single call.

The care my colleagues provide is excellent, but that’s in spite of low pay, increased pressure, and service cuts.

'I will fight for a radical Labour government and I want Nottingham to lead the way in the socialist transformation of our society.' What is a radical Labour Government? And how would you want Nottingham to transform into a socialist society?

A radical Labour government will create an irreversible shift in wealth and power in this country – through expanding common ownership, taxing the rich to fund better public services, and engaging in massive public investment. Look around you: at rip-off rents responsible for 8,000 families waiting for a council house in Nottingham, almost half of children in this constituency living in poverty, and some of the worst air pollution in the country polluting our lungs. People are crying out for real change, and it’s time we had a country that’s fair for everyone.

My priority is reversing welfare cuts and restoring NHS, social care, and education funding; investing in our youth services; and tackling the crises of poverty, homelessness and climate crisis together. A Labour government will invest £250bn in the UK over the next decade. I will push for Nottingham’s share to be spent on mass building of well-insulated green council homes, and creating local well-paid green jobs.

Nottingham East has an unemployment rate of 6.7% how do you hope to reduce this?

With huge investment in well-paid, unionised green jobs; a proper living wage for all, and repealing anti-union laws and replacing them with strong workers’ rights, so that once people are in work they can stay there.

Westminster is arguably not representative of the UK population, do you think it’s important to challenge this?

Absolutely and there is widespread cynicism around Westminster, particularly in Nottingham East where people have been denied a local, accountable MP for almost a decade. That’s why one of my pledges is, as a workers’ representative, to take a UK average wage of £35k and donate the rest to social causes and strike funds.

You mention you’re from a immigrant working class background, has this been a hindrance to you?

Our opportunities are decided by our class. I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities that my parents didn’t – I never had to work down the pit or in a factory for example. And my mum subsidised our income with loans and lodgers so that life could be easier for me than it was for her. But nevertheless, the odds are stacked against people like me, and people with far less privilege than me. I always remind myself that “imposter syndrome” is just the medicalisation of class inequality, and that’s what I’m entering Parliament to change.

Finally, if you could recommend one book, one song and one film to people what would it be?

Book: The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla.

Song: Giggs – Talkin the hardest (good motivational tune).

Film: This Is England (from Nottingham’s own, Shane Meadows).

And have you got any messages to people out there?

Register to vote by midnight on 26 November, apply for a postal vote to give yourself extra time to vote or if you’ll be away. If you’re a student, think carefully about where your vote will make the biggest impact. And get in touch or go to if you’d like to help win a Labour government that cares for everyone!