Scotland's only MP of colour left in tears after being stopped by Met Police

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Scotland's only MP of colour left in tears after being stopped by Met Police
Scotland's only MP of colour left in tears after being stopped by Met Police

AN SNP MP was left in tears after being stopped by police twice in one day for wearing traditional Pakistani dress while in the House of Commons.

In an interview with the New Statesman, Anum Qaisar said the experience left her feeling “alienated”.

She said: "Just a couple of weeks ago I went into parliament and wore a shalwar kameez, a traditional Pakistani dress, and I wear my past, and I've got it in my hand and while I'm wearing ‘Western’ clothes I don't get stopped.

"But on this one day, whilst I had shalwar kameez, twice in one day by two different sets of Metropolitan Police I was stopped and asked to show my ID.

"The first time I just pushed it to a side and went on with my day, but the second time it was in the exact same location between Central Lobby and the chamber and the second time I turn around, I was like, no, this is now a recurring theme.”

The Airdrie and Shotts MP added: "I'm very strong, I would like to think. I've dealt with a number of different racial abuse cases throughout my life.

"But at that point, I just felt so alienated because I do look a little bit different to most MPs out there.

"And that in itself is alienating, but to be stopped by the police twice in one day, and asked to show my id just further perpetuates that stereotype of I don't look like a politician and I don't belong there.

"Now, after that, I got really upset and I was with doorkeepers, and I'll be honest, I started crying because I shouldn't be made to feel like that in my workplace.”

The MP said she has raised it with the Speaker and the police.

Ms Qaisar was elected to the Commons last year, after the sitting SNP MP Neil Gray resigned to stand in the Scottish Parliament election.

She is the only person of colour representing a Scottish constituency.

A landmark report by ITV two years ago found that two-thirds of black and minority ethnic MPs had experienced some form of racism while working in parliament.

The findings, based on the anonymous responses of 37 of the 65 BME MPs in parliament at the time, found that 62 per cent had faced “racism or racial profiling” while on the parliamentary estate, with 51 per cent saying they had experienced this from other MPs.

Of the MPs, 92 per cent said they believed their ethnicity made it harder for them to enter parliament, while 83 per cent said it had made their job more difficult.

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “Discrimination has no place in Parliament. The Speaker met with Ms Qaisar and the Metropolitan Police, who have provided assurances that the matter will be thoroughly investigated.”

The Met has been approached for comment.

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