- The Mayor of Burnley Wajid Khan is being sworn into the House of Lords;
- It’s a huge achievement, with the new Lord Khan of Burney himself noting how being 41, from the north and from a BAME background means it’s an important step for The House of Lords;
- Speaking to Burnley.co.uk, he told us how his six-year-old daughter Ameera is enjoying her new title of “honourable” and likes to remind her mummy and daddy!
The Mayor of Burnley Wajid Khan will join The House of Lords on Tuesday 2nd March, a huge leap forward in progressing the diversity of parliament’s second chamber.
Speaking to Burnley.co.uk, the new Lord Khan of Burnley said it goes to show how hard work, determination, dreaming big and never giving up can pay off.
Lord Khan said: “My father arrived in the UK in the mid 1960s, not knowing the culture and language. My mother joined him in the early 1970s. Back then, they could never imagine that their son would one day become a member of The House of Lords. It’s honestly such a huge honour and privilege, especially with coming from a simple background.”
And it turns out the new title has gone down well in his household.
“My wife Anam is now Lady Khan of Burnley and my children Hassan, 3, and Ameera, 6, are ‘Honourables’. Ameera is the princess in our home and she’s taking great pleasure in reminding us that she’s now an Honourable – she’s researched it and knows her stuff”, Lord Khan said.
Titles aside, it’s certainly an amazing achievement not only for Lord Khan (“It still feels really weird hearing people call me that – I’m used to just being Waj. But I wanted to keep Burnley in the title!”) but also for the borough of Burnley.
Putting Burnley further on the map
Lord Khan explained how the average age of the members of The House of Lords is 70, whilst the majority of members are also from the south east of England, east of England and London (56 per cent). Furthermore, there are just six per cent from a minority ethnic background.
“I think I can add value to The House of Lords and not just because I’m not from the typical background. I’m a really modern and progressive thinker and I think the Lords needs to ensure it reflects the views of the people.”
Helping others is a huge passion for Lord Khan, who is Burnley through and through, having been born in and residing in the town all his life. He attended Heasandford Primary School and Habergham High School and graduated in law from UCLan in 2002, before completing a Masters in European law in 2004.
He certainly has an impressive CV. Inspired by the disturbances in the town in 2001, he led projects to boost community cohesion, which saw him win an award after working on the Corrymeela initiative in Northern Ireland. In 2019, he was awarded the highest civilian award by the President of Pakistan for his work on international human rights.
Lord Khan was keen to make clear that he will finish his mayoral duties before immersing himself into his new role and had some inspirational words for young people in the borough.
“Never give up on your dreams. Life will always throw surprises at you, but if you remain focused and committed to causes that matter to you, you will succeed. I get a great satisfaction from my education, not only to achieve my own goals, but also that I can use it to help others. Education really is an important tool. No matter how challenging life is, please never lose hope, better days are coming.”
We wish the new Lord Khan of Burnley all the best for today, thank him for his work as our mayor during what has been a challenging few months and look forward to seeing him put Burnley further on the map with his new role.