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by Will Davies The borough s first Bangladeshi mayor has set another record after becoming the first Muslim leader of the opposition. Camden Labour Party this week selected Nasim Ali, a 40 year old two-term councillor, to lead the party i

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by Will Davies

The borough's first Bangladeshi mayor has set another record after becoming the first Muslim leader of the opposition.

Camden Labour Party this week selected Nasim Ali, a 40 year old two-term councillor, to lead the party in next year's local elections.

Cllr Ali, who as mayor of Camden in 2003 was the youngest in Britain, grew up on the Regent's Park Estate and helped pioneer the Camden United football project to bring young people from white and Asian communities together in the borough.

Commonly known as Nash, Cllr Ali said: "I want to restore Camden's ambition to promote fairness and social justice in the borough I grew up in and where I am now raising my young family.

"The Town Hall Lib Dems and Conservatives are short sighted and don't share this vision, I have seen how they work and that's why they need challenge.

"Camden is currently taking money away from Kilburn Town Centre on the sly.

"The council also stood by and allowed Boris Johnson to cut funding for major jobs and training schemes just at the time when people needed them."

He said his number one priority will be securing extra housing for Camden residents.

Community groups and youth clubs should be nurtured and vulnerable members of the community should not be forced to 'pay for the recession' through increased charges for council services such as meals on wheels.

Also elected this week as deputy leader of the group was Cllr Jonathan Simpson.

He said: "We want to see changes at the Town Hall, which is increasingly stagnant and bereft of ideas for our borough.

"All the coalition members seem to be interested in these days is tactical advantage for the next elections, not community gain."

Outgoing leader Cllr Anna Stewart, who is stepping down in 2010 said: "You don't get much more local than Nash, he's a Camden success story.

"His positive, community-based approach will challenge the complacent politics as usual at the Town Hall."

w.davies@archant.co.uk

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